‘Joey’s Law’ passes Kansas Senate

GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) – Joey’s Law is slowly making its way through Kansas legislature, and it’s had a few changes since it was first written. Lawmakers said these changes could better protect law enforcement and individuals with autism.

“Anything we can do to make sure this won’t happen again,” said Sen. Rick Billinger, the sponsor of Joey’s Law.

The new bill revision would issue a placard to a person that “needs assistance with cognition, including, but not limited to, persons with autism spectrum disorder..”

Great Bend police chief Cliff Couch said: “Maybe you drive more than one car or you borrow someone else’s car, or something like that. If you’re dealing with a sticker on a license plate, that doesn’t come with you.”

The bill does allow for a notice on a license plate, a driver’s license, or vehicle registration.

For those without a driver’s license, the bill issues the individual “an individual identification card that must be carried by the person who needs assistance with cognition when the motor vehicle is being operated or occupied by such person.”

KSN also reached out to the group, Justice for Joey, and asked about their thoughts on the bill’s changes.

“At the time, I was like ‘Why didn’t we think of that,'” said Duane Dinkel. “I’m thrilled with the idea of having a placard or some kind of identification.”

Couch said any information is helpful, but he has some concerns.

“It’s still a very complicated issue,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot more than just changing some stuff about law enforcement to fix some of these really tragic issues that we face sometimes.”

The bill allows the individual to use all four options, or just one. It would voluntary to provide that information.

Joey’s Law passed the Senate floor 28-11. It is headed back to the House transportation committee. There will be a hearing for it when lawmakers return from a week-long recess. KSN will continue to follow the bill and we’ll bring you updates.


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