Disability Employment: 2017 Legislative Recap

Josh Cunningham 3/21/2018

Work Matters Policy Framework: Reviewing 2017 Legislative Actions

State legislatures across the country were active in 2017 passing legislation impacting employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Worker at keyboard/screenThis was the first legislative session following the release of Work Matters: A Framework for States on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities. Together, NCSL and the Council of State Governments published Work Matters in December 2016 after a bipartisan national task force of state legislators, governors, state regulators, and private industry representatives identified dozens of state policy options states can pursue to increase employment among people with disabilities.

The report was part of the ongoing State Exchange on Employment and Disability (SEED)an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). SEED assists states in fostering employment success for people with disabilities through meaningful policies that promote disability-inclusive workforce development.  

  • Laying the groundwork.
  • Preparing for work.
  • Getting to and accessing work opportunities.
  • Staying at work.
  • Supporting Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship.

As a partner organization in SEED, NCSL analyzed 230 enacted bills across 44 states from the 2017 legislative sessions related to disability employment seeking to identify those bills that align with the Work Matters policy framework. We identified 51 bills from 28 states that directly relate to policy options identified in the Work Matter framework. Those bills are summarized below:

Laying the Groundwork

This policy area includes legislation that establishes a broad policy environment that embraces inclusiveness and supports disability employment. Key policies identified in the Work Matters framework include: 

  • The state serving as a model employer,
  • State incentives for the business sector that promote hiring people with disabilities,
  • Training programs that raise awareness about disability etiquette and inclusiveness,
  • Optimizing resources through interagency collaboration.

 

State Bill Number Bill Sponsor Bill Title Work Matters Policy
Arizona HB 2214 Leach (R) Arizona Disabilities Act and Income Tax Subtraction Private Sector Incentives
California SB 728 Newman (D) State Public Employees: Sick Leave: Veterans State as Model Employer, Return-to-work
California SB 731 Newman (D) Public School Employees: Veteran Leave of Absence State as Model Employer, Return-to-work
California AB 1111 Garcia E (D) Removing Barriers to Employment Act: Breaking Barriers Interagency Collaboration
Illinois HB 2782 Jimenez (R) Employment and Economic Opportunity State as Model Employer
Indiana SB 390 Stoops (D) Employment of Individuals With Disabilities Interagency Collaboration
Louisiana HB 253 Smith P (D) Exceptional Persons Raising Awareness
Maryland HB 1466 Young P (D) Disabled Veterans State as Model Employer

North

Dakota

HB 1135 Human Services Cmt Disabled Employment Consolidation State as Model Employer

New

Jersey

SB 2721 Vitale (D) Person-First Language and Pejorative Terminology Change Raising Awareness
Nevada AB 192 Sprinkle (D) Temporary Limited Appointment of Disabled Persons State as Model Employer
Nevada SB 516 Commerce, Labor, and Energy Cmt Workforce Innovation and Apprenticeships Interagency Collaboration
Nevada AB 309 Cohen (D) Employment of Veterans and Certain Widows and Widowers State as Model Employer
Tennessee HB 165 Pitts (D) Hiring Preference to Veterans State as Model Employer
Texas SB 2027 Rodriguez Jo (D) Training and Employment for Intellectually Disabled State as Model Employer
Virginia HB 2425 Anderson (R) Employment Of Individuals With Disabilities State as Model Employer
Washington HB 1802 Reeves (D) Shared Leave in State Employment State as Model Employer, Return-to-work
Wyoming SB 53 Joint Interim Trans, Highways & Military Veterans Public Employment State as Model Employer

 

Preparing for Work

This policy area includes legislation that strengthens programs designed to prepare students and adults with disabilities with the necessary skills to successfully enter the workforce. Key policies identified in the Work Matters framework include:

  • Education policies that prepare all youth—including those with disabilities—for college and a career,
  • Supporting work-based learning programs inclusive of people with disabilities,
  • Promoting meaningful family engagement throughout the education and career development process.

State Bill Number Bill Sponsor Bill Title Work Matters Policy
Arkansas SB 647 English (R) Public School State Accountability System Career Readiness
Maryland SB 872 Zucker (D) Higher Education Grant Program Career Readiness
Oklahoma HB 2155 Nollan (R) State Board of Education Career Readiness
Utah HB 240 Schultz (R) Employability to Careers Program Act Career Readiness
Washington HB 2037 Frame (D) Higher Education Students with Disabilities Career Readiness

 

Getting to and Acccessing Work Opportunities

This policy area includes legislation that improves access to transportation services and promotes accessibility within the workplace. Key policies identified in the Work Matters framework include:

  • Widely available and accessible transportation options for people with disabilities,
  • Accessible information and communication technologies in the workplace.

State Bill Number Bill Sponsor Bill Title Work Matters Policy
Colorado SB 213 Moreno (D) Automated Driving Motor Vehicles Accessible Transportation
Colorado SB 11 Lambert (R) Transportation Access for People With Disabilities Accessible Transportation
Connecticut HB 7126 Joint Insurance and Real Estate Transportation Network Companies Accessible Transportation
Florida HB 221 Sprowls (R) Transportation Network Companies Accessible Transportation
Florida HB 371 Ausley (D) Assistive Technology Devices Accessible Technology
Maryland SB 180 Peters (D) Independent Living Tax Credit Act Accessible Housing

New

Jersey

AB 3695 Lagana (D) Transportation Network Companies Accessible Transportation

Rhode

Island

HB 5241 O'Brien (D) Transportation Investment and Debt Reduction Accessible Transportation
Washington HB 2003 Kloba (D)  Special Parking Privileges Accessible Transportation

 

Staying at Work

This policy area includes legislation that supports workers experiencing a medical condition that challenges their ability to work. These policies are intended to help those workers stay on the job or re-enter the workforce following a leave of absence. Key policies identified in the Work Matters framework include:

  • Supporting employee retention in the event of injury, illness or a change in status of an individual’s disability.
  • Tax deductions for contributions to Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts.

State Bill Number Bill Sponsor Bill Title Work Matters Policy
California SB 218 Dodd (D) ABLE Act Accounts revisions ABLE Accounts
Connecticut HB 7032 Joint Banking Committee  Qualified ABLE Program: Tax-Advantaged Savings Account ABLE Accounts
Delaware HB 145 Paradee (D) Special Savings Accounts ABLE Accounts
Idaho HB 41 Health and Welfare Committee Individuals With Disabilities ABLE Accounts
Maryland HB 448 Bromwell (D)  Better Life Experience Program ABLE Accounts
Maine HB 428 Fecteau (D) Vocational Rehabilitation Stay-at-work/Return-to-work
Mississippi SB 2311 Blackwell (R)  Achieving a Better Life Experience Act ABLE Accounts

North

Dakota

 

SB 2124 Government and Veterans Affairs Committee Better Life Experience Plan ABLE Accounts
Oregon SB 476 Boquist (R) Definition of Preferred Worker Addition Stay-at-work/Return-to-work
Oregon SB 1027 Hayden (R) ABLE Accounts ABLE Accounts
Utah SB 199 Weiler (R) Achieving a Better Life Experience Act Revisions ABLE Accounts

 

Supporting Self-employment and Entrepreneurship

This policy area includes legislation that increases access and opportunity for new and existing business owners with disabilities through entrepreneurship training and business incentives and supports. Key policies identified in the Work Matters framework include:

  • State support for professional development opportunities for people with disabilities.
  • State procurement and contract preferences for disability-owned business.
State Bill Number Bill Sponsor Bill Title Work matter Policy
Illinois HB 2698 Turner (D) Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Disability-owned Businesses
Illinois SB 2012 Weaver (R) Income Tax Disability-owned Businesses
Kansas HB 2356 Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Cmt Certification of Businesses Disability-owned Businesses
Kentucky HB 161 Johnson (R) Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses Disability-owned Businesses
Maryland HB 1446 Hayes (D) Blind Industries Disability-owned Businesses
Tennessee HB 1276 Lovell (R) Disability-Owned Businesses Disability-owned Businesses
Virginia HB 2396 Hope (D) Public Procurement Act Disability-owned Businesses
Virginia SB 1334 Ruff (R) Public Procurement Act Disability-owned Businesses