You know, beyond the Presidential Campaign there are critically important legislative races in Illinois. All of the members of the State House of Representatives are running for reelection and many members of the State Senate are also in a reelection campaign.
Do you know where your current Senator or Representative and those running against them stand on important disability issues like:
- Raising wages and benefits for Direct Support Professionals?
- Closing obsolete state institutions?
- Supporting fully inclusive schools for everyone?
- Ending the PUNS Waiting List for over 22,000 children and adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities?
- Employment First policies for everyone?
These are just a few of the important issues that legislators will be asked to vote upon. Do you know where your candidates stand?
by Michelle Diament
With all eyes on the race for the White House, both political parties are calling for big change to rules on employing people with disabilities.
The platforms approved this month at the Democratic and Republican Party conventions are both urging a move toward competitive employment.
Currently, under a federal law dating back to the 1930s, employers are able to get special permission from the U.S. Department of Labor to pay people with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Now, however, the political winds appear to be shifting.
“We … support creating one fair wage for all workers by ending the subminimum wage for tipped workers and people with disabilities,” reads the Democrats’ agenda ratified this week at the party’s gathering in Philadelphia.
The plan echoes comments made by the party’s presidential nominee Hillary Clinton earlier this year on the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, the GOP also signaled its support for similar change in the platform approved at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week.
“Our TIME Act (Transition to Integrated and Meaningful Employment) will modernize the Fair Labor Standards Act to encourage competitive employment for persons with disabilities,” the Republicans stated. “We endorse efforts like Employment First that replace dependency with jobs in the mainstream of the American workforce.”
The TIME Act is a proposal in Congress that would bar the Labor Department from issuing new certificates allowing the payment of subminimum wage and would phase out the use of existing certificates within three years. Since it was introduced in 2015, the legislation has failed to gain much traction.
“The recognition of this issue by leaders of both political parties further confirms that the time has long passed to eliminate the unfair and separate wage system for people with disabilities,” said Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind, which supports an end to subminimum wage.
The Arc of Illinois
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