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Advocacy Alert: State Legislation to Provide New Opportunities for People with Disabilities in Mississippi

April 13, 2015

The Mississippi House and Senate adopted House Bill 836 on March 31, which will provide new opportunities for people with disabilities to work in an integrated community setting at competitive wages at or above minimum wage. Collaborative efforts with The Arc of Mississippi and The Mississippi Chapter of the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) facilitated passage of House Bill 836. The bill will become law once signed by Gov. Phil Bryant.

“This legislation is the first step in a process. We are excited about our collective success with the passage of this bill. We are equally enthusiastic and look forward to the next steps in implementing a system where all people are supported to be all they can be,” said Jennifer Fulcher, President of the Mississippi Chapter of APSE, a national nonprofit dedicated to advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace and the community.

The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Crawford, was based on work by the Mississippi Partnerships for Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (MSPE) project, a consortium established in 2011 by the Mississippi Council on Developmental Disabilities, Disability Rights Mississippi and The University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies.

Funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the MSPE project has directed a state-level collaborative approach to improving employment outcomes for Mississippi youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“This is a major milestone for advancing employment opportunities for Mississippians with disabilities. I appreciate Rep. Crawford and Sen. Kirby for their involvement in the passage of HR 836, and all those who continue to work tirelessly for equitable employment and self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities,” said U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.).