OAKLEY, Kan. (KSNW) – When Kansas legislators get back to work next week, one of the bills they’ll have ready to go is in honor of Joey Weber — the autistic man shot and killed by a Hays police officer last year. Today, Wichita representative Gail Finney pre-filed the bill that hopes to let officers know if someone has a disability.
Joey Weber’s parents never imagined that, what started as a small conversation, would result in a proposed bill heading to Kansas lawmakers.
It’s been a long, emotional journey since they lost their son, but the Joey Weber Act is a step forward for the Weber family.
“We’re very excited about it. It’s something that the state of Kansas really needs,” said Joey’s father, John Weber
The current writing of the Joey Weber Act allows for a notice on a vehicle registration that the person “needs assistance with cognition, including, but not limited to, persons with autism spectrum disorder, or is responsible for the transportation of such a person.”
The act also allows for a notice on a driver’s license or state ID.
It would be voluntary to provide that information, but Weber hopes people won’t be hesitant to use the bill, if passed. He said he doesn’t want to see another life lost.
“People don’t like to be labeled, but from a law officer’s standpoint, sometimes it’s good that they’re labeled,” said Weber.
Finney worked closely with law enforcement, other lawmakers and organizations while writing the proposed bill. She said she’s proud that there’s bipartisan support.
“We’re very confident that it’s going to have a hearing because this is so important to many families and Kansans,” said Finney.
Since the Joey Weber Act has been pre-filed, it will be ready to go once the legislature resumes. Finney hopes the bill will be assigned to a committee for a hearing, where she said she will fight to make the bill a reality for the Weber family.