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Rep. Jarrells' HB 281 to remove derogatory language from the Ohio Revised Code moves to the governor's desk

December 14, 2022
Dontavius L. Jarrells News

COLUMBUS– State Rep. Dontavius Jarrells (D-Columbus) today announced the Senate passage of House Bill (HB) 281, also known as the “Mental Health and Disability Terminology Act, which replaces derogatory language related to people with disabilities and updates other statutory provisions in an effort to ensure all Ohioans are treated with dignity, kindness and respect.  The bill now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. 

“The passage of this bill truly brings me hope. This could not have been done without all of the advocates in the disability, mental health, deaf, and victim services communities, and I cannot thank them enough for their efforts,” said Rep. Jarrells. “I would also like to thank my joint-sponsor, Representative Tom Young, for his work on this bill, in addition to the Ohio Senate for their thoughtful consideration. This is a positive step to reduce institutionalized stigmas related to people with mental illnesses and disabilities.” 

This legislation would enact the following measures: 

Replaces various statutory terms related to people with disabilities or mental illness
Updates statutory provisions related to assistance dogs, braille teacher standards, the Children with Medical Handicaps Program, the former Ohio Commission for the Blind, and accessible parking spaces

The drafting of HB 281 started earlier this year when a community coalition reached out about changing terms such as “lunatics,” “deaf and dumb” and “mentally retarded” that still exist in the Ohio Revised Code.