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It’s just a bill

Wednesday, May 15, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Governor JB Pritzker’s office sent this letter to legislators on Monday…

Dear Members of the Illinois General Assembly:

My office is thrilled to join the diverse group of stakeholders working in support of the Dignity in Pay Act (HB793). This bill, sponsored by House Leader Theresa Mah and Senate Leader Cristina Castro, represents a significant step forward in expanding opportunities and ensuring fair and equal pay for Illinois workers with disabilities.

House Amendment three to the Dignity in Pay Act is a carefully negotiated compromise supported by an array of organizations. The newest supporters include groups like Special Olympics Illinois, the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (IARF), the National Down Syndrome Society, the Illinois Spina Bifida Association, the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities, and dozens of other groups who provide direct service and support to Illinoisans with disabilities.

These groups are joining the fight for fairness alongside long-time backers, including Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago, the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, and the Shriver Center on Poverty Law.

For too long, a provision in the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act has allowed for Subminimum Wage payment to individuals with disabilities by entities with special authorization, generally referred to as 14(c) certificates. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990, the US Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead in 1999, and numerous other strides made by civil rights leaders, we’ve made extraordinary progress in understanding the unlimited potential contributions, and the many injustices too often experienced, by people with disabilities in our country – especially when it comes to finding a job.

To date, 18 states (and the City of Chicago) have acted to phase out 14(c) and expand programs that increase inclusion and access to competitive integrated employment. A range of employers across Illinois have successfully shifted their focus to Supported Employment and meaningful day program opportunities – including Misericordia, the Arc, MarcFirst, Ray Graham, the Lighthouse for the Blind, Thresholds, and Macon Resources, Inc., among many others.

The Dignity in Pay Act requires the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the Illinois Department of Labor to lead a responsible and gradual 5-year process to increase employment options for people with disabilities and phase out 14(c) subminimum wage authorizations.

The amended bill’s key changes include:

    1. Extending the phase-out period to five years (July 1, 2029), allowing for a longer, smoother change ramp for employers and employees.
    2. Creating a Transition Program Grant to assist employers and employees with the necessary resources to navigate the phase-out.
    3. Requiring an increase to Supported Employment Rates to ensure providers have the resources to effectively support community employment programs.
    4. Adding the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICCDD) and an academic partner to bolster research and development efforts for a smart, well supported change in state policy.

The Dignity in Pay Act is one step we can take together to build a more equitable and inclusive Illinois. This legislation fosters a future where all individuals, regardless of ability, can contribute their talents and skills to our workforce and earn a fair wage.

With broad stakeholder compromise and support, I urge the Illinois House and Senate to pass the Dignity in Pay Act so that I can sign it into law.

Here’s where similar legislation has been passed or is pending. From the governor’s office…

Eliminated
1.Alaska
2.Colorado
3.Delaware
4.District of Columbia
5.Hawaii
6.Maine
7.Maryland
8.New Hampshire
9.Oregon
10.Rhode Island
11.Tennessee
12.Vermont
13.Washington
14. West Virginia

Implementing Phase Out
1.California
2.Kansas
3.South Carolina
4.Virginia

Legislation Pending
1.Connecticut
2.Georgia
3.Illinois
4.Minnesota
5.Nevada
6.New York

Rep. Charlie Meier has been dead set against the bill. Here’s an Op-Ed from Meier

Throughout my time in Springfield serving southern Illinois and portions of the Metro-East, I have worked hard to represent the best interests of the citizens in our state that live in the care of the state, live in Community Integrated Living Arrangements, and for those developmentally disabled individuals that perform light tasks at “14c Workshops” throughout the state.

A well-intentioned, but badly flawed, bill pending in Springfield is threatening to permanently place individuals working in 14c workshops out of a job. The legislation would raise the minimum wage for these jobs to $15 per hour. The concept sounds good. The businesses that are partnering with these 14c’s are more than likely to cut off their financial support. A look at the numbers reveals that the costs associated with participating in these programs would explode to unaffordable levels.

Currently, companies that pay individuals for 10 hours of work per week pay a little over $7.5 million. If HB 793 is passed and signed into law, when the wage paid to 14c employees reaches $15 per hour, the cost explodes to more than $27 million. For companies paying individuals the current rate for 25 hours of work per week, the cost is a little under $19 million. If HB 793 is passed and signed into law, when the wage reaches $15 per hour, those companies will pay a combined whopping total of more than $68.5 million. In addition to higher costs to companies, clients will be forced to pay much higher taxes on their income.

During last year’s Session, I worked to educate my fellow legislators as to the very real pitfalls in increasing the minimum wage at 14c workshops. I was successful, and I believe the programs have continued because the effort failed.

Fast-paced crowded workplaces and strange new people and new places have the tendency to scare and overwhelm certain individuals with profound disabilities.

14c clients and their families know that when they are performing their duties at the workshop that they are safe and cared for and that all of their medical and mental needs are being met. The 14cs provide the best of all worlds for clients, their families, companies, and nonprofits.

This year, advocates for the change have beefed up their messaging efforts and are once again on the cusp of passing HB 793. I’m working once again to stop the bill from passing.

The majority of the workshops I’ve talked to are either neutral or opposed to HB 793. However, they are afraid of negative consequences to their facilities and clients if they speak out.

For the sake of my friends in the developmental disability community, their families, and the dignity that comes with the work and the paycheck they receive at 14c workshops, I would ask my colleagues in the legislature to stop moving HB 793 and work with me and community partners to ensure that 14c workshop opportunities will continue to be able to operate these vital and valuable programs. Save the jobs of my friends in the DD community.

Please vote no on HB 793.

HB793 is currently in the House Rules Committee with a May 31 Third Reading deadline.

* Tribune

A bill in Springfield would end the requirement that prosecutors be notified when a baby is born with controlled substances in his or her system and would no longer necessarily consider that evidence of child abuse.

The hope is that by taking away the threat of losing custody of a baby, mothers would be more likely to seek treatment.

The initiative was prompted by a finding that the leading cause of death in Illinois among expectant or new mothers is drug use. Almost one-third of the 263 such mothers who died in 2018 to 2020 died of substance use, the state Department of Public Health reported.

The proposed change in the law would create a task force to develop a plan for helping infants and mothers exposed to illicit drugs during pregnancy. These family recovery plans would include medical care, recovery support and referrals to community services for the child and caregiver.

From that report

During 2018-2020, 5.4% of live births had a maternal substance use disorder recorded by the delivery hospital. Maternal
substance use disorders were recorded by the delivery hospital most often for women who were American Indian (13.1%), younger than 25 years (7.9%), had a high school education or less (10.5%), lived in urban counties outside the Chicago area (10.1%) or rural counties (12.2%), and who had Medicaid insurance (9.9%).

The percentage of live births with a maternal substance use disorder recorded by the delivery hospital varied across counties. During 2018-2020, maternal substance use disorders recorded by the delivery hospital were lowest in DuPage County (1.4%) and highest in Edgar County (24.3%). Twenty-three counties had a maternal substance use disorder recorded for 16% or more of their live births (Alexander, Christian, Clark, Coles, Edgar, Fayette, Fulton, Gallatin, Greene, Hardin, Lawrence, Logan, Mason, Massac, Montgomery, Pike, Pope, Richland, Saline, Scott, Vermilion, Wabash, and White). […]

Crystal’s Story
Crystal was a Black woman in her 30s with a history of substance use disorder, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. She had been raised in foster care due to her parents being incarcerated. Throughout prenatal care there was no documentation of referrals or treatment for her mental health. The medical record notes from providers included undertones of blaming language surrounding her “unwillingness” to quit her substance use and classifying her as a “known drug user.” Around her sixth month of pregnancy, Crystal went to the emergency department with abdominal pain. A hospital social worker told her that DCFS would be contacted due to her positive urine drug test. Crystal became upset and started to cry due to the fear of losing her children and asked to be discharged. She then left the hospital against medical advice. The social worker reported her to DCFS after the hospital stay. In her prenatal care visits after this emergency department visit, there was no documented follow-up for Crystal’s substance use disorder or other mental health conditions. She later gave birth to a full-term healthy baby. From the hospital records available, it seems the infant was not taken into DCFS care after birth. After delivery, there is no record of Crystal receiving a postpartum visit or any other care. She died two months postpartum of a drug overdose from a combination of fentanyl and cocaine.

What can we learn from Crystal’s death?

Women who have substance use disorder can experience stigma and bias related to their substance use, especially during pregnancy. This can result in some women avoiding medical care during or after pregnancy due to the fear of DCFS reporting and the potential to lose custody of their child(ren). Health care providers should seek out training to further understand the impact stigma related to substance use affects care to improve respectful care practices for all patients. While it is currently Illinois law to report positive urine drug screens to DCFS after an infant is born, there is no mandated reporting for drug screenings during pregnancy prior to the baby’s birth. Crystal’s health care providers did not assess her readiness for substance use disorder treatment.

* WAND

State lawmakers could pass a plan in the final weeks of session to improve procedures for student discipline. This comes as many teachers and administrators across the state have asked for help to address school safety.

The Illinois State Board of Education could be required to draft and publish guidance for development of reciprocal reporting systems between schools and law enforcement.

This measure calls on ISBE to publish guidance for re-engagement of students suspended, expelled or returning from an alternative school setting. […]

Senate Bill 1400 passed unanimously out of the Senate Education Committee Tuesday afternoon. The plan now moves to the Senate floor for further consideration.

* Pantagraph

House Bill 3908, sponsored by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, would allow firefighters to take time off to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or for the birth of a child and caring for the newborn.

They would also be able to use the time to care for a newly-adopted child under 18, a newly-placed foster child under 18, or for a newly-adopted or placed foster child older than 18 if they are unable to care for themselves due to a mental or physical disability.

Firefighters would also have the option to voluntarily waive their right to paid family leave. […]

If the bill passes, Stuart said details of how this would work on a local level will be done through negotiations and collective bargaining agreements between municipalities and the firefighter unions.

The Illinois Municipal League, a lobbying group that advocates on behalf of the state’s cities and towns, opposes the bill, deeming it an unfunded mandate on municipalities and preemption of local government decision-making.

* Brownfield Ag News

A coalition of environmental and agricultural groups are encouraging state lawmakers to expand the Illinois Fall Covers for Spring Savings Program (FCSS). […]

Farmers who are accepted into the program receive a $5-an-acre subsidy on their next year’s crop insurance for every acre of cover crops they plant. [Eliot Clay, land use programs director with the Illinois Environmental Council] says the groups want to see 3-million dollars allocated to cover 500-thousand acres in the next state budget. […]

This year the program received 660-thousand dollars and covered 100-thousand acres.

* Rep. Margaret Croke…

Yesterday, State Representative Margaret Croke’s legislation to increase insurance coverage of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatments passed the Illinois House with bipartisan support, and is headed to Governor JB Pritzker’s desk to be signed into law. The bill removes the current limitation, which requires insurance to only cover four rounds of IVF treatments, and also includes coverage for an annual menopause health visit.

“As reproductive health has been under attack across the country, I’m so proud that Illinois is continuing to prioritize access to care like IVF. I’m thrilled to see this legislation heading to Governor Pritzker’s desk after receiving bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. The previous insurance cap was not based in science, and unfortunately has created financial barriers for individuals hoping to start or grow families,” said State Representative Margaret Croke. “Being a mom has been the most rewarding and incredible experience of my life, and it’s something everyone who wants to should have the opportunity to do. I’m grateful that we’re taking steps to increase access to this care here in Illinois.”

Currently, insurance companies in Illinois are only required to cover four rounds of IVF, but for many families it can take at least six rounds of IVF to result in a successful pregnancy and birth. Once signed, this legislation will ensure that families receive coverage for the fertility treatments they need to start or grow a family. A single round of IVF can cost between $15,000 and $30,000 out of pocket, putting the dream of welcoming a child financially out of reach for many.

Since taking office in 2021, Rep. Croke has been a champion in increasing access to reproductive and fertility care. Her first year in office, Rep. Croke passed HB3709, legislation that expanded insurance coverage of fertility treatments to same-sex couples, women over 35, single women, women who cannot get pregnant naturally due to a medical issue, and others, ensuring that all Illinoisans have equal access to the insurance coverage needed to start a family.

* Rep. Jaime Andrade…

Continuing his efforts to support motorists, state Rep. Jaime Andrade, D-Chicago, passed legislation on Tuesday that allows motorists the chance to recover valuable personal items like medical devices and identification cards from their vehicles.

“Common sense tells you that if someone is unfortunate enough to have their car towed, these companies should allow motorists to get their important IDs, lifesaving medical devices and school textbooks out of their vehicle, free of charge, but that’s not always the case,” Andrade said. “Unfortunately, some tow companies have strong armed motorists, resulting in even more out-of-pocket costs in overdue textbook fees, new prescriptions and renewed documents. This legislation was needed, because too many of Illinois’ families have faced hundreds of dollars in fines and costs because of a glaring loophole. I look forward to seeing the Governor’s signature on this legislation and more discussion on how we can best support motorists in the future.”

Andrade championed Senate Bill 2654 which allows someone to recover personal medical devices, ID cards, college textbooks, and study material from a vehicle that is being held by a towing company without facing penalties or fees.

Andrade’s legislation continues his long support of motorists and safer streets. He recently passed House Bill 4451 which would dedicate funds from speed enforcement cameras to safety improvements at nearby parks and schools.

Senate Bill 2654 passed unanimously out of the House on Tuesday, May 14 and awaits the Governor’s signature.

* Sen. Javier Cervantes…

To make canceling physical fitness services easier for customers, State Senator Javier Cervantes is moving legislation to require these services have easy and simple ways to cancel a contract.

“This is a simple matter of updating business practices to fit with modern times,” said Cervantes (D-Chicago). “Giving consumers simple and efficient methods to cancel their subscription or contract is one way we can ensure residents are not falling victim to automatically renewing payments for services they no longer use.”

Under the new legislation, businesses offering physical fitness services like gym memberships would need to allow customers to cancel their contract either online or by email, instead of only by mail.

The measure would also require contracts for physical fitness services that automatically renew to comply with the Automatic Contract Renewal Act, which ensures businesses give full disclosure of their automatic terms and cancellation policies and do not charge customers without proper consent.

“We have given consumers in Illinois the tools to make canceling their subscriptions with other services easier, and we want to expand those provisions,” said Cervantes. “Residents may go months or even years without knowing if their old gym membership is renewing and charging them, and with these changes we are making the process easier for everyone.”

House Bill 4911 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and is one step closer to becoming law.

* Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid…..

Renters will be better protected from flooding under new legislation passed by state Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid, D-Bridgeview, requiring landlords to provide important information about flooding risk and history.

“Even one flooding event can be financially catastrophic to a family,” said Rashid. “With climate change making floods much more common and extreme, this is one important step we can take to protect working families.”
Rashid’s Senate Bill 2601 will ensure that prospective renters know whether the unit they are considering renting has a history of flooding or lies in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Special Flood Hazard Area. This information will help them make informed decisions about whether to purchase flood insurance. Many renters may not know that flooding protection is not typically included in renter’s insurance.

Under the bill, property owners must inform prospective tenants if their property lies within a high-risk flooding area. Additionally, landlords renting out units on lower levels, including garden, basement, and first floor units, must disclose whether any of these units have experienced flooding within the past decade.

After passing out of the Senate and House, Senate Bill 2601 awaits approval by Gov. JB Pritzker.

“This bill is a crucial step toward ensuring the safety and wellbeing of tenants across the state,” said Senator Mike Porfirio, who introduced the legislation in the Senate. “By requiring landlords to disclose flood hazards, we are arming renters with the knowledge they need to protect themselves and their families from potential harm.”

       

37 Comments »
  1. - LBR - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 11:49 am:

    It is time for the Dignity in Pay Act to become law. It is a travesty to allow any citizen in Illinois to make a sub minimum wage. In 2019, the former Executive Director of the Goodwill in Springfield was making almost $170,000, while her son made $95,000; laying off workers and threatening to fire more when the state passed the minimum wage. This is unacceptable. We must treat all citizens in our State with the same dignity and respect and their wages should reflect that.


  2. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 11:52 am:

    “The majority of the workshops I’ve talked to are either neutral or opposed to HB 793. However, they are afraid of negative consequences to their facilities and clients if they speak out”

    This is so true in my work, I interact with staff who are placing developmentally disabled individuals into jobs via local Secondary Transitional Experience Programs. The staff at these Transitional programs are aware and afraid that their clients will not be able to find work suited to their abilities if the Dignity in Pay Act (HB793) passes.


  3. - Carpe GM - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 11:58 am:

    No brainer to pass a 5-year phase out of subminimum wage for disabled workers. Every large organization of people with disabilities (Special Olympics!) and the providers who support them (IARF! The Institute!) are saying the time has come to change.

    Glad to see organized labor in strong support too. Saw AFL and SEIU signed on the Gov’s letter.

    It’s 2024 - not 1938. The sky will not fall when more doors are opened to support disabled people secure better wages.


  4. - Cha’s Parents - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 12:01 pm:

    When your child has a disability - look them in the eye and tell them they don’t deserve the minimum wage. The opponents are on a high horse and I notice they are not disabled.

    Good on Gov. Pritzker and all those working on the Dignity in Pay law.


  5. - Quill - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 12:02 pm:

    HB 793 now has an amendment that is the culmnination of two years of work to answer provider and family concerns about phasing out the subminimum wage over the next five years. This is an eminently doable bill to get Illinois out of the Dark Ages on providing services for people with I/DD. The phaseout means that when people are not working, they need support to ensure they are having a meaningful day regardless—going out, visiting family or friends, doing things with their days that are MEANINGFUL till their next work gig. This is a good bill that will make being a person with I/DD in Illinois BETTER.


  6. - Benjamin - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 12:11 pm:

    As someone who has worked in the disability field for 40 years, and has worked nationally in the field when states eliminate 14-C a large group of those with disabilities….particularly those who have severe medical and behavioral issues….no longer have any opportunity to have work. They were SO proud of the work they did in their sheltered workshops, and once 14-C was eliminated they were reduced to a “day program” every day where they watched TV, colored, or sat and did nothing. Many of these individuals needed to be diapered during the day, had seizures that needed to be attended too, and medical issues. Providers decided it wasn’t worth dealing with them, so they no longer had any kind of work. This is really not about Dignity of Pay it is about taking away services for the most disabled. Shame on all of you!


  7. - BE - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 12:13 pm:

    This bill will create MORE work for people with disabilities. By developing a serious plan crafted by experts, and allowing 5 years for phase-out, it will be launched in a gradual and successful way. Equal minimum pay for working adults- no matter the disability- protects EVERYONE’S civil rights. A concerted, ambitious statewide focus on disability employment will give rise to previously unimagined work experiences for people with all types of disabilities.


  8. - Chicago Democrat - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 12:25 pm:

    We need to pass HB 793. The way many disabled people are being treated in workplaces is nothing short of inhumane. Organized labor, disability rights groups, and so many others are united behind this. It’s time we fix the travesty that is inhumane wages for the disabled, and it is being done in a gradual manner that is realistic and fiscally responsible. Vote YES on HB 793.


  9. - SaulGoodman - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 12:25 pm:

    Passing Dignity in Pay is such a no-brainer. This is 2024 - it’s unacceptable to claim that that people with disabilities are worth less than what we have established as a state for minimum wage.


  10. - Benjamin - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 12:26 pm:

    In my most recent work with those with disabilities the theme I hear from them over and over is no when asked THEM what they wanted to do. Their CHOICE is to continue the work they are now doing, and of course, for those who are able they are finding jobs in the community. This is another one of the so called advocates saying “one size fits all”, and we know what is right for the disabled, without getting the input from those most affected. Let’s review this in five years, and see where this is at. I could be wrong, but I will be keeping track of my friends with disabilities, and see how many are still actively involved with work. Sadly, I think it will follow the path of the stats who have eliminated 14-C. Yes, more people may have jobs, but some work 1-2 HOURS a week, whereas before they were working 30 hours a week. We shall see!


  11. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 12:54 pm:

    ==Shame on all of you!==

    I would say shame on the businesses if they end their participation over this bill.


  12. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 12:54 pm:

    Starting to see commenters repeating ready-made talking points. Don’t do that.


  13. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 1:00 pm:

    RE: the firefighter time off bill. I see the IMA is opposed. Maybe these sorts of bills wouldn’t be necessary if the cities did the right thing to begin with and allow this benefit.


  14. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 1:01 pm:

    sorry . . . IML


  15. - Red Country Blues - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 1:09 pm:

    My parents were disabled people. The stigma they encountered in finding jobs still breaks my heart. The Dignity in Pay bill is a long overdue reckoning. Appreciation to those who are moving it forward.

    Read the bill (amendment 3) and you’ll see why there is so much support for it — including from the governor and an army of groups are urging YES votes

    https://ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=1030
    0HB0793ham003&GA=103&Se
    ssionId=112&DocTypeId=HB&LegID=14266
    8&DocNum=793&GAID=17&SpecSess=&Session=

    This isn’t a hasty “light switch” change. It’s a comprehensive way to expand work opportunity for disabled people who have had doors slammed in their faces over and over again.


  16. - JS Mill - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 1:15 pm:

    =This measure calls on ISBE to publish guidance for re-engagement of students suspended, expelled or returning from an alternative school setting. […]=

    Yeah, with all of their successes in education legislation we need more guidance from the ILGA and the ISBE.


  17. - Erin Compton - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 2:03 pm:

    As a person with a disability,I have a job that pays minimum wage and I love it. More employers need to do the same. Subminium wage was enacted in 1938. My grandparents were born that year! Since then jobs have changed, people have changed, technology has changed, and this law has to change. Thank you to the Governor and everyone who is supporting the Dignity in Bill Act. It’s time for a new era of inclusive, disability employment. Let’s pass this bill!


  18. - John S. Herring, Sr. - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 2:21 pm:

    Dignity in pay equates to human dignity.
    We must dignify the work and the worth of people with disabilities. HB793 does this. We must pass this bill.


  19. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 2:37 pm:

    Why did we ever decide that prosecutors of all people were the right person to notify about drugs addicted mothers? Seems there should be other options (public guardian or the health and human services people for instance).

    I have a relative who lost her child to the state due to drugs. Once she got clean she didn’t want the child back because she associated him with the stresses that led her to abuse. Once you break a family sometimes there’s no putting it back together.


  20. - Sarah Stasik - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 2:39 pm:

    People with disabilities in Illinois deserve equal pay. It seems like a very simple and humane concept. Let’s get this done and support HB793.


  21. - Trap - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 2:48 pm:

    Where will the dignity be when the workers lose their jobs because companies won’t pay a wage that more than triples while production levels remain the same? Reality bites, and it will in this instance as well.


  22. - That Guy - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 2:49 pm:

    I still have yet to see a good bill that the IML supports.

    It seems all they’ve ever gone above and beyond in supporting is the LGDF increases, which will never be increased to an acceptable amount for them.

    To the IML and cities opposed to the firefighter’s bill, it wouldn’t be necessary if you treated your employees well.


  23. - nathan joerndt - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 3:16 pm:

    i am someone with a disability and i like to speak up for what is the right thing to do. i think dignity in pay is important because i feel like people with disabilities deserve a fair wage. sub minimum wage is not fair.


  24. - Disabled Supporter from Chicagoland - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 3:52 pm:

    I wish Illinois had eliminated sub minimum wage for people with disabilities earlier than now. The current version of the legislation addresses the concerns about competitive pay for people with disabilities. Now is the time for Dignity in Pay.


  25. - Nick Manganelli - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 4:39 pm:

    I support this bill, people with disabilities should not be taken advantage of as under these manipulative sub-minimum wage laws, lets have Dignity in Pay already


  26. - Perrid - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 4:48 pm:

    Conservatives always say the same thing to fight minimum wage laws, they always says it’ll tank jobs. Yet any effect has been minimal, has always been minimal. It’s a meaningless scare tactic.


  27. - Excitable Boy - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 5:52 pm:

    - the dignity that comes with the work and the paycheck they receive at 14c workshops -

    My best friend growing up had an uncle with a severe mental disability.

    Back in the 60s and 70s he’d push a heavy cart all over the small town where I grew up collecting scrap metal. At the end of the day he’d take his load to the scrap yard where the owner would pay him a fraction of the actual scrap value.

    It was exploitation then, and it’s exploitation now. Pass the bill.


  28. - Hudsons mom - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 6:13 pm:

    I have worked with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for 25 years. I started in employment services as a job coach. The organization I worked for had a workshop. When there was work a lot of people loved it other people never loved it because they did not like the work. Many people I talked to about getting a job said no, not because they liked the work, not because they made money but, because they would miss their friends. The elimination of 14C is not going to shut down agencies and the people described in Rep Meiers letter are receiving community day services and will not be affected. The elimination off 14c is making its way through the federal system as we speak, rather than wait until it passes federally, and we have to react to the change with no planning, we have a chance here to prepare and plan for a thoughtful transition rather than an over night change. To encourage people who want to keep 14c, it only took one person getting a job in the community and continuing to go to workshop when he was not working so that he could see his friends before everyone wanted a job in the community! We need to provide experience and exposure for people to understand that there is life outside the walls they stare at when there is no work at the workshop.


  29. - Josh Evans - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 9:25 pm:

    The Dignity in Pay Act is a strong framework to GROW employment opportunities for persons with disabilities while stopping payment of less than minimum wage in FIVE YEARS.

    Illinois has been an Employment First state for several years due to a law passed unanimously by the General Assembly.

    This is a natural extension of that act by ensuring that a person with a disability providing an hour of work will get at least minimum wage.

    Nothing in this will be rushed. Further statutory, regulatory, policy and rate recommendations will come from a task force seated with expertise in advancing employment opportunities.

    A few things that need cleared up here:

    Nothing in this bill will close sheltered workshops. In fact, the task force will be charged with advancing recommendations to ensure facility based employment and other social enterprise employment models can continue. Sheltered workshops will have to pay at least minimum wage to persons with disabilities in FIVE years. The majority of providers in this state have transitioned away from this model of employment.

    This bill will provide financial support and technical assistance to providers that want to figure out how to transition to other models sooner.

    This bill will grow community integrated employment by providing rate increases next fiscal year, which is crucial to having staff support for community employment.

    This bill will increase the personal needs allowance, the amount of social security money a person with a disability can keep for their own uses, to $100 a month.

    As a 20 year advocate for disability services, this is one of the best frameworks I’ve seen to advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities in Illinois, and more will come.

    I ask folks to consider the entire history of the civil rights movement for people with disabilities in this country and this state. The entire history has been dispelling myths about people’s understandings of the capabilities, goals, and desires of people with disabilities. In my own lifetime I’ve seen the shift to more people living in their communities rather than institutional models of care, due to choice, the proven ability to build supports for people in the community, and recognition that people have the rights to have a life like anyone else.

    Evolution of how we think about employment opportunities and how we build those environments is part of this long social arc towards equity and equality.

    Dignity in Pay is not about leaving anyone behind, it is about creating opportunity for people to thrive, to test their limits and abilities, to take risks on job opportunities, and to support people when they succeed and when they fail.


  30. - Disability Rights ARE Civil Rights - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 10:17 pm:

    I am happy to see that Dignity in Pay is getting some much needed attention. Great work by the Disability Community to develop a bill that can pass. Let’s do the right thing and pass the bill


  31. - Support equitable labor options - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 10:32 pm:

    I’ve been witnessing a very close friend go through the grueling process of navigating insurance and income as someone with a disability. So exciting to see this effort to improve options!


  32. - LL - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 7:26 am:

    I am an Employment Specialist and I run a school-to-work transition program for young adults with disabilities. We help them find work in inclusive settings earning a typical wage and you know what… we see A LOT of success. Not only CAN people with disabilities work typical wage jobs, but they SHOULD work typical wage jobs. The benefits to those employees, their employers, and society at large are incalculable.

    Just the word “subminimum” says it all. We might as well call it what it actually is… “subhuman” wage.

    This bill is just one step towards quality that the disability community deserves as HUMANS. We can’t afford any further steps back.

    I implore everyone to support this bill.


  33. - Diane C - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 9:14 am:

    For those saying that people will lose their benefits if they are paid Minimum Wage, that is because the Social Security asset limits were set in 1972, and have only been raised $500 in the 1980’s. Instead of denying people the opportunity to work, let’s increase the amount they can make to a livable wage. No one could live on 1972 wages. Let’s not use one form of discrimination and repression to justify another.


  34. - TK2U - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 1:48 pm:

    In 1938…Asians were barred from immigrating to the US based solely on their country of origin…it was legal to segregate students in public schools based solely on their race…women faced significant barriers to participation in civic life and the workplace based solely on their gender. In order to achieve a more equitable and humane society, policies have had to change and evolve over the years. Eliminating the practice of paying workers with disabilities less than minimum wage, which dates back to a carve-out in federal legislation from 1938, is yet another important opportunity for our state and country to evolve. Change can be scary, and success is often not guaranteed. But success is possible and even probable with hard work, collaboration, and a sprinkle of creativity and imagination. That is the plan the Dignity In Pay Act sets forth for Illinois. If this bill passes, my nephew with autism with have a better chance at a living wage.


  35. - Riley - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 4:59 pm:

    My mom once worked as a bus driver for individuals with disabilities, and often on these routes, she would drop of individuals with cognitive disabilities to organizations with 14(c) waivers. That is, the individuals she was dropping off to go to work were making less in one week than she did in two hours. She could not believe this was legal. When she told me, her daughter with a disability, I was also stunned. This was over a decade ago and it feels like nothing has changed. Those individuals may have needed some support in their employment, but they absolutely did not deserve to paid cents on the dollar. Please support Dignity in Pay.


  36. - Self advocate - Friday, May 17, 24 @ 10:32 am:

    People with different abilities for too long have ended up in 14c sub minimum wage its time Illinois ends the horrible chapter In segregated employment. Here is a question do you want People to be dependent or independent? It’s not 1938 anymore People with different abilities should not be paid piece rate.


  37. - AZ - Friday, May 17, 24 @ 2:16 pm:

    It is great to see such widespread support to ensure that disabled people have the same economic opportunities as everyone.


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