COLUMBUS—State Representative Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster) this week introduced his first bill in the Ohio House, House Bill 115, which he is joint sponsoring with Rep. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green).
House Bill 115 would establish a voluntary program through the Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS) to help facilitate effective communication between law enforcement and individuals with communication disabilities. Through this program, an individual may voluntarily submit a verification form, signed by their physician, to the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles to be designated as an individual with a communication disability. This information is then made available to state and local law enforcement only through the Law Enforcement Automated Data Systems, more commonly referred to as LEADS.
“House Bill 115 will establish Ohio as the first state in the nation to allow individuals with communication disabilities to confidentially provide this information to law enforcement officers without putting a physical designation on their license plates or state identification cards,” said Rep. Wiggam. “This voluntary, ‘no labels’ initiative has the ability to save time and money when encounters between law enforcement and individuals with communication disabilities occur. I look forward to working with my House colleagues as we usher House Bill 115 through the legislative process.”
Individuals over the age of eighteen would be eligible to enroll in this system, as well as minors who are enrolled by their parents or guardians.
House Bill 115 now awaits a committee designation.