Disabled veterans would be allowed free parking at Louisiana's seven passenger airports under a bill that won easy approval Tuesday morning in the House Transportation Committee.
The measure, House Bill 318, cleared the panel without objection after a brief discussion. It next faces action in the full House.
"It is a bill that really says to the veterans of this state 'We say thank you for your services,'" said state Rep. Johnny Berthelot, R-Gonzales and sponsor of the legislation.
Berthelot said his proposal would apply to about 20,000 disabled veterans.
The benefit would be available to those with a military honor license plate or a disabled veteran identification card issued by the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The free parking would be allowed for up to 10 days.
After that veterans would be charged the same as rank-and-file airport customers.
The plan is backed by Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration.
"The governor is not opposed to this idea and would like to see the services made available for our disabled veterans," Joey Strickland, director of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, told the committee.
Strickland said Edwards did ask about the impact of the change on airports.
Strickland said while the state has about 70 airports only seven carry passengers.
"None of those seven airports stated any opposition to this bill," he said. "We felt pretty good."
Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, whose House district includes the main airport there, praised Berthelot's proposal.
"I think you have a great bill," Norton said. "We need to start showing those veterans how we really, really appreciate them."