Archive for Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New law seen as way to increase independence for those with disabilities

May 29, 2012


— Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday signed into law a bill that is designed to provide an incentive for businesses to hire Kansans with disabilities.

Brownback called House Bill 2453 a “breakthrough.”

He added, “It really does move people to where they want to go — to a job — and uses the means of the state to do this.”

The law will allow businesses that have at least 20 percent of their workforce made up of Kansans with disabilities to win state contracts even if the company’s bid is 10 percent higher than the lowest bid. The companies also must do business primarily in Kansas and contribute at least 75 percent of the total health insurance premium cost for all employees.

Patrick Terick, director of governmental activities for the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation, said the law provides “creative ways” to employ Kansans with disabilities. He thanked state Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, and state Rep. David Crum, R-Augusta, for putting the bill forward.

Brownback said the new law will “build paths to independence.”

He added, “Studies consistently show that those with disabilities who work lead happier and healthier lives.”


KansasLiberal 5 years, 6 months ago

Will this new law affect any existing businesses? I can't imagine that there are very many businesses in Kansas bidding for state contracts with 20% of their workforce being disabled AND who pay 75% of employee's insurance. Do ANY companies in Kansas pay for that much of their employee's health insurance? This sounds like a law that got passed so that legislators can point to something nice that they did, but it doesn't sound like anyone will ever take advantage of the law.

Bobble62 5 years, 6 months ago

I personally know of at least three companies in Wichita that pay 75% of their employee's health insurance. Remember that the law applies to nonprofits as well as for-profits, and sub-contractors to state contractors also. With a 60% or better unemployment rate for people with disabilities, this is at least a creative attempt. Do you prefer the status quo?

Bladerunner 5 years, 6 months ago

Perhaps not now KansasLiberal....but it is an incentive for businesses to hire the disabled which is the point of the legislation.

pace 5 years, 6 months ago

Another odd goofy law, safe waste of time. Like they didn't have real work.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Actually, this seems like a good idea to me.

And, I imagine if it had been a liberal governor who proposed it, you might like it more.

It provides incentives to hire those with disabilities, and to provide some health insurance benefits.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 6 months ago

Here is Brownback again, picking economic winners and losers.

I thought this violated the libertarian tea party economic ideology.


Steve Jacob 5 years, 6 months ago

What is the legal standard of "disabled" here?

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 6 months ago

I happen to agree with KansasLiberal. This is "feel good" but useless legislation with too many conditions on it that no one can or will want to meet. It's much like the legislation that Brownback sponsored and passed trying to get people to move to rural Kansas. That was a year ago and I actually wonder if anyone has yet taken the state up on the offer.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

I would be willing to wager that if we had a liberal governor, you'd like this bill a lot more.

It provides incentives for businesses to employ the disabled and to provide health insurance coverage, both of which are good things, in my view.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

Brownback's performance to date doesn't earn him the benefit of doubt on this. I'll believe this is a good thing when it really turns out to be one.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

I give him no benefit of the doubt either, and don't trust him farther than I could throw him.

But, this bill seems like a good idea, from my reading of it.

Whether or not any, or a significant number of businesses actually comply with these rules, remains to be seen. If they don't, then it's a good law in theory that has no practical impact.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

Should a business not hire the disabled, it may be an indication that this bill is flawed or it may be an indication that businesses do not believe that the worst of the recession is over. We may have to wait until some time after the recession is over to know why the disabled weren't getting hired, if in fact they don't get hired.

John Duval 5 years, 6 months ago

seems like a good way to get employers as a way to foot the bill for mental health and others with disabilities. Since he and the other republicans that closed all of our state run hospitals and instituions refuse to see the damage they have done

Mark Zwahl 5 years, 6 months ago

Here's what I think it is. It may be actually designed to serve the disability agencies who, instead of helping their clients find jobs in the private sector, have chosen to have sheltered workshop types of settings, where they pay low wages and piecework rates. This is actually working backwards from where the disability field was going 15 years ago. And Kansas has consistently been backwards about real independence for folks w/ disabilities since the late '90's.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

This bill doesn't appear to do any harm, but as others have noted, whether or not it results in the hiring of more disabled workers remains to be seen.

I am curious how they came up with the particular numbers, and whether they looked at what's happening in the real world, and what might happen in the real world to come up with them, or whether, as already noted, this is all about PR, and not new hires among the disabled.

Shane Garrett 5 years, 6 months ago

I am thinking of at least one person in particular. He is disabled. 33 years old. he pays no child support for his two kids. (and does not have to cause he never paid into SS.) And gets paid from the SRS each month. His disability is due to the fact that he has "issues". Most likely from years of drug abuse. I keep thinking that he is not so disabled that he could not hold one of those signs that say stop on one side and slow on the other. At least now perhaps a person like this would get a job and have private insurance to help pay for his medication, he could start helping to pay for his kids, and get off his rear end and off the public dole. If this helps just one person like this then I am all for it. Remember work will make you free. Unless, of course you are of the Marxist mind set; then work makes you a slave.

Shane Garrett 5 years, 6 months ago

Sorry, I did not get that quote quite right. Work will “build paths to independence.” And just for good measure..“Studies consistently show that those with disabilities who work lead happier and healthier lives.” So the sign above the sweat shop could read: work will give you long life and happiness.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

"Arbeit macht frei" - Is that the quote you're looking for? You might want to look that one up because it wasn't posted at a sweatshop and not by Marxists.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 6 months ago

I had the exact same thought, jhinsf. In fact, that sentence gives me chills.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 6 months ago

What businesses in Lawrence contract with the state?

oldbaldguy 5 years, 6 months ago

this may a good thing. see what happens. my kid is disabled. there is no way he could ever work, but there are those that can. making opportunities is a step forward.

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