A priority bill for The Arc of Massachusetts and Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts passed early and swiftly from the committee this week! The bill, “An Act facilitating better interactions between police officers and persons with autism spectrum disorder,” is now in the Clerks office, but will likely move to Ways and Means where we will continue our advocacy efforts.
Pictured here is the Connecticut Blue Envelope.
The bill will allow drivers with autism to voluntarily request a blue envelope, which the driver could attach to the car’s sun visor. In case of an interaction with the police like a traffic stop or an accident, the driver could hand over the envelope, which could inform the officer of the diagnosis, impairments, triggers, and emergency contact information. Many people with autism display no physical markers to alert police of their disability. Every year, numerous people with autism suffer psychological trauma, physical injury, or even death due to misunderstanding and lack of training.
The bill has the support of our Police Associations, and a similar program is working successfully in Connecticut. To learn more, contact Maura Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.