(KCPW News) Helping people with disabilities find work is the focus of a bill that moved forward in a House committee. Assistant Majority Whip Ronda Menlove’s bill requires state agencies that provide services to disabled people to give priority to helping them find and keep a meaningful job through the Supported Employment program.
“When I went back to the agencies and said why are you cutting this program, look how successful [it is]?” she said. “This is one program they could point to that said this many people are employed, this is how much money they’re making. It has specific measurable outcomes.”
Menlove says the program has taken 200 people off the waiting list for the Division of Services for People with Disabilities in the past two years, though it still currently has about 1,900 people. But the bill targets those at the bottom of the waiting list, which is a big concern for House Minority Leader David Litvack.
“I understand the fine balance that we’re trying to be able to attack it from both ends, and if that’s what this policy allows us to do than I’m very supportive of that,” said Litvack. “But I’m also very sensitive to the individuals and families of those with those who have disabilities who have a very severe disability.”
The U.S. Department of Justice recently launched an investigation into Utah’s Division of Services for People with Disabilities, prompted by claims that the state’s wait list is not moving quickly enough according to federal law. Menlove said she’s not sure whether this bill would thwart the federal investigation.
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