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Jones Introduces Bill to Include Autism in Laws Governing Assistance Dogs
Legislation sponsored on behalf of Springboro constituent

COLUMBUS— State Senator Shannon Jones (R- Springboro) today introduced a bill in the Ohio Senate that seeks to revise the definition of “mobility impaired person” to include those diagnosed with autism as it pertains to the laws governing assistance dogs. This change would ensure that people with autism are able to use their assistance dog in all environments.

Jones introduced the measure, Senate Bill 220, on behalf of a constituent from Springboro with autism who uses an assistance dog to keep him safe during the day, especially during school hours.

Currently, assistance dogs can be used by those individuals with vision or hearing impairments, as well as people with seizure disorders or a neurological or physiological condition that limits their ability to move unaided or perform related functions such as sitting or climbing stairs.

“Although not all autistic individuals require an assistance dog, those that do experience numerous benefits from the social and sensory interaction they have when their dog is present,” Jones said. “This bill will ensure that people with autism who utilize an assistance dog receive equal treatment under Ohio law and are able to take their dog anywhere they need to go.”

Senate Bill 220 will now be assigned to a committee for further review. Similar legislation is also being introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives by State Representative Kevin Bacon (R- Minerva Park).
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