Monday, June 30, 2008

A bill currently before the Ohio Senate would grant people with disabilities protection under Ohio's hate crime laws.

According to this report in the Cincinnati Enquirer. If the bill is passed, it would put disability in the same category as race, color, religion, and national origin.

The impetus for adding disability to hate crime laws was the violent attack, in February, of Ashley Clark, a Ohio high school senior, by two teenage boys. Clark, who has intellectual disabilities, was allegedly tied up, robbed and beaten with a baseball bat. Her hair was cut off and her prom dress destroyed. Her disability appears to be a key reason why she targeted.

"This will put people on notice that the state of Ohio views those actions with the same severity as they do crimes against any other group," said Lin Laing, executive director for Center for Independent Living Options in Cincinnati.

The blogspot What Sorts of People also has a post about the bill and raises some important questions about it. How for example, do we determine when a crime committed against a person with a disability is a hate crime? You can read the post in full here.