House Bill 115 Signed by Governor Kasich


FOR RELEASE: May 2, 2018

Governor Kasich Signs Bill to Improve Interactions Between Individuals with Communication Disabilities and Law Enforcement

Columbus, OH – A bill that will help improve the interactions between law enforcement officers and individuals with communication disabilities was signed by Governor John Kasich on May 2, 2018. House Bill 115, sponsored by Representatives Scott Wiggam and Theresa Gavarone, was unanimously passed by the Ohio Legislature on April 11.

Anyone with a diagnosed communication disability can voluntarily enroll in a database that connects to the LEADS (Law Enforcement Agencies Data System). An officer can then be made aware that the driver, or a person in the vehicle, may have difficulty communicating with the officer. The initiative will help avoid a situation that could become harmful to an individual with a communication disability or an officer.

“The passing of this bill is important to all individuals with communication disabilities and their families,” said OOD Director Kevin Miller. “I know personally, how much parents worry when their child with autism or a hearing disability is driving on their own. My son, Connor, is on the autism spectrum, and this tool can make a difference when a traffic stop occurs.”

OOD will provide a form on the agency’s website that individuals can take to their licensed medical practitioner, who can validate that the individual does have a communication disability. The information will be protected by the state firewall and is not public. Individuals will also have the option to opt out of the database at any point.

Groups that supported HB 115 are the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Deaf Services Center, Ohio Association for the Deaf, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

OOD is the state agency responsible for assisting individuals with disabilities to gain meaningful employment, to live independently or receive disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.