By Marc Kovac
Two state lawmakers want to remove the word “handicapped” from signs marking parking spaces for people with disabilities.
State Reps. Michael Stinziano of Columbus, D-18th, and Cheryl Grossman of Grove City (R-3rd) say the word is disrespectful and should be removed from state law.
“The word ‘handicapped,’ whether it appears on a sign or in Ohio Revised Code is a pejorative reference to people with disabilities,” Stinziano told members of the House’s health committee Wednesday. “The word is obsolete and often viewed as offensive.”
The lawmakers are primary sponsors of House Bill 265, which would remove all forms of the word “handicap” from Ohio law, replacing them with phrases like “person(s) with a disability” or “access/accessible/accessibility.”
Additionally, new and replacement signs for parking spaces would include the word “accessible” instead of “handicapped.”
The legislation is not retroactive, meaning existing signs would remain in place.
Stinziano and Grossman said Franklin County, Cincinnati and other communities have taken comparable steps on signs.