Madison – Representative Romaine Quinn (R-Rice Lake) said he was proud to stand next to Collin Mitchell, a Rice Lake student, as Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 415 into law, known as “Collin’s Law.”
Buffi Mitchell, Collin’s mother, reached out to Rep. Quinn after a routine traffic stop that went poorly due to the officer not being aware of an invisible disability that impacted how Collin communicates. In a video posted to YouTube on October 13, 2016, Buffi says, “I figured I needed to let someone know about Collin and the challenges he faces… Romaine has gone to bat so often for us with this.”
“Two years ago I had the opportunity to meet Collin and his mom and learn about his situation,” said Rep. Quinn. “After hearing what happened to Collin, I knew I had to do something to help make sure that other people with disabilities like him would not have to go through the same situation. It was inspiring to work with a young man that, having been through so much in his own life, was willing to tell his story in Madison in order to help others.”
Collin’s Law creates an optional registry with the Department of Motor Vehicles that alerts officers to an invisible disability. When applying for a driver’s license, individuals will be able to fill out a brief form identifying their invisible disability and include additional information they want law enforcement officers to have access to. This registry is electronically linked to a driver’s license or vehicle registry. When an officer runs a license plate during a traffic stop, the notification identifying the invisible disability and possible symptoms pops up to alert officers to the driver’s status. While the registry is optional, Rep. Quinn said it would give individuals important flexibility in advocating for themselves and easing interactions during stressful times.
“After sitting down with a range of groups that focus on mental health issues, I knew we needed to ensure privacy for individuals with invisible disabilities while still giving law enforcement clear and helpful notice that they need to approach a situation differently,” said Rep. Quinn.
Collin’s Law passed with strong bipartisan support, passing both houses of the legislature unanimously before reaching the Governor’s desk. “There’s a lot of partisan bickering in Madison, so I was very proud to see both sides come together to support the disability community and get this important job done,” said Rep. Quinn. “I had both Democrat and Republican colleagues tell me that they had constituents who would be helped by this bill. That just emphasizes that we truly can come together to do the right thing.”