OAKLEY, Kan. (KSNW) – For months, KSN has been following up on the bill being created in honor of Joey Weber, the autistic man shot and killed by a Hays police officer.
The Joey Weber Act allows for a person to voluntarily provide information about a disease or disability on their vehicle registration.
Now, a few new additions to the proposed bill could be beneficial to law enforcement agencies.
“We want to keep everybody safe, including ourselves and our officers, but we also want to keep those people safe too, and I definitely think it could be a big tool to help us do that in the future,” said Sheriff John Ketron, who has been working closely with Rep. Gail Finney on the bill.
The current writing of the proposed Joey Weber Act would create a notice on a driver’s license or state ID that the person “has been medically diagnosed as having a disease or disability that may impair such person’s social communication or behavior, including, but not limited to, autism spectrum disorder.”
According to Finney, it will be up to the Secretary of Revenue to determine the notice’s location on the ID card.
Ketron said officers have limited information provided to them about someone with a disability or disease.
Weber’s father John said he hopes the Joey Weber Act could change how an officer responds to a situation.
“They already have an idea what to expect, and react totally different than they normally would,” said John.
Ketron told KSN he believes it will make a difference, using the example of an officer responding to a swerving vehicle.
“If we call that tag in, and it comes back the individual is diabetic…that changes up completely because now I think ‘Okay, I could still have a DUI but I may have a medical issue here,'” said Ketron.
Finney is currently looking for more input and has sent the proposed bill to different law enforcement agencies.
According to Ketron, he’s received many positive responses from law enforcement agencies about the bill — saying they are willing to look at anything that can improve interactions with those with a disability or disease.
Republican Rep. John Whitmer will be joining Finney as a co-sponsor for the bill on the House side. Finney said she is now working to find bi-partisan sponsors on the Senate side.