Columbus - 
State Senators Kevin Bacon (R - Minerva Park) and Shannon Jones (R - Springboro) announced today they have introduced Senate Bill 149, legislation that will include  autism in the laws governing assistance dogs in Ohio. 

"This bill would simply add individuals with autism to the list of protected individuals using  assistance dogs," Bacon said.

Currently, the Ohio Revised Code is silent regarding any provision for individuals on the autism  spectrum utilizing assistance dogs.  Many young individuals with autism use specially-trained  assistance dogs to help keep them calm and safe while at school or in other settings. 

"Many autistic individuals, and their families and caretakers, have found that an assistance dog  greatly improves their quality of life," Jones said. "Donnie, a constituent of mine from  Clearcreek Township, is one of these success stories, and I am pleased to be able to help change  Ohio law to ensure his dog and others can accompany their owners as they go about their daily  activities." 

This issue was brought to the attention of Senators Bacon and Jones by a mother with a son on  the autism spectrum. The family has an assistance dog and was concerned that the assistance dog  could possibly be disallowed from accompanying him to school. After understanding the success  and usefulness of the dogs for autism, both legislators thought a statutory change was needed. 

"Although each and every person on the autism spectrum does not use an assistance dog, there  are Ohio families that rely on these dogs on a daily basis, and this bill will ensure that they can  continue to utilize this great resource," Bacon said. 

Bacon and Jones each sponsored similar legislation regarding autism assistance dogs during the  last General Assembly. Senate Bill 149 will now be assigned to a Senate Committee for further  review.
For more information, please contact Laurel Ullman in Senator Bacon's office at (614) 466-8064 or Andy Bowsher in Senator Hughes' office at (614) 466-5981.
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