National Federation of the Blind
|Legislative Issues in Connecticut|
in Favor of Raised House Bill 5279,
National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut supports Raised House
Bill 5279 which fosters fair compensation for those with disabilities.
We believe that those with disabilities need to be given the same employment
opportunities that all working adults in Connecticut receive. H.B.5279
is a major step in the direction of equality. It has been demonstrated
that the 75-year-old practice of paying those with a disability pennies
per hour is an outdated system that does not work well.
The assumption that disabled
workers are not as productive as their non-disabled counterparts is false.
This assumption has been disproven with the countless modern employment
models that have been put into practice across the country. Satellite
locations of Goodwill Industries andNational Industries for the Blind
(NIB) are successful while paying disabled employees at or above minimum
wage. The justification that sub-minimum wage workshops can be used as
a stepping stone to full-wage employment is inaccurate. Data shows that
less than five percent of disabled workers placed in sub-minimum wage
workshops successfully transition to a competitive employment model. Numerous
sub-minimum wage employment models have shifted successfully to a model
which guarantees all their employees at least the same minimum or above-minimum
wage that their non-disabled workers enjoy.
The practice of sheltered workshops paying their workers pennies per hour while the executives of the same workshop make six-, or sometimes seven-figure salaries, is revolting. This system is discriminatory and does not provide an environment where initiative is rewarded. Ninety-five percent of disabled workers that are employed in a sum-minimum wage paying workshop stay there permanently. Let's change this unjust arrangement to a system of which all Connecticut residents can be proud. Please pass Raised House Bill 5279.
Edward Shaham, Director of
The National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut is opposed to any legislation that would greatly lessen business opportunities for blind people who want to run food service facilities in state parks and forests that are maintained by the Department of Energy and Environment Protection (DEEP). The legislation would also set a terrible precedent in the future for Randolph-Sheppard entrepreneurs.
While the Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB) would be able to bid on these facilities, they would only be able to retain or procure the food services facilities for a blind person in the unlikely event that they are the highest bidder.
Currently there are three blind vendors operating food service facilities in three state parks and forests. In all likelihood, these three people will lose their businesses if this legislation passes. The chance for blind people to procur new businesses in other state parks and forests in the future will be severely impaired.
The unemployment rate for blind people in Connecticut is dismally high, over 70%. Our goals include working at productive jobs in order to be independent, tax-paying citizens of our state. Please support blind small business owners and oppose any such proposed legislation or amendments.
Accessible Voting Machines
Freedom to Vote
Blind Residents Have Right to Vote Privately, Independently: November 2009
Op-Ed authored by Susan Bysiewicz and Chris Kuell, October 2006
Separate State Agency for the Blind
As a result of budgetary cutbacks, the 2011 General Assembly and Governor Malloy consolidated the Board of Education and Services for the Blind, the Commission on Deaf and Hearing Impaired and the Bureau of Rehab Services into a new agency, the Bureau of Rehab Services. The National Federation of the Blind of CT disagrees with this action. We firmly believe in, and will always advocate for, a separate agency for the blind.
National Legislative Issues
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Federation of the Blind of Connecticut
477 Connecticut Boulevard, Suite 217
East Hartford, CT 06108
|Updated March 18, 2014|