STATEHOUSE – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed into law today legislation aimed at creating job opportunities for Kansans with disabilities.
House Bill 2453 will establish preferences to award state contracts to certified businesses if their bids are no more than 10% higher than the most competitive bid. Businesses would be certified by the Kansas Department of Administration to ensure they meet the following criteria:
· Do business primarily in Kansas
· Employ at least 20% of full time employees in Kansas that are individuals with disabilities
· Contribute at least 75% of the total health insurance premium cost for all employees
Kansas Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. led the administration’s efforts to gain legislative approval for the bill.
"The policies in HB 2453 will build paths to independence for persons with disabilities that do not exist today,” Lt. Gov. Colyer said. "When we traveled throughout Kansas listening to Kansans' ideas on Medicaid reform, one consistent theme was the need for more work opportunities for persons with disabilities. Studies consistently show that those with disabilities who work lead happier and healthier lives. HB 2453 and other disability employment initiatives will assist in supporting Kansans with disabilities to live more productive, healthier, and independent lives.”
Lt. Governor Colyer led a working group with members of the Governor’s Cabinet to fundamentally reform the state’s Medicaid system to improve consumer outcomes while controlling costs of the program. One component of the Brownback Administration’s effort to reform Medicaid is to create “off-ramps” for long-term Medicaid consumers. Most long-term Medicaid consumers are individuals with disabilities.
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts joined the Governor for the bill signing. Sen. Roberts worked on a similar policy initiative at the federal level. Also on hand were Secretaries Pat George (Commerce), Shawn Sullivan (Aging) and Dr. Bob Moser (KDHE) as well as Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns Director Martha Gabehart; SRS Rehabilitation Services Commissioner Mike Donnelly; Kerrie Bacon KCDC; Cole Godsey, KCDC; Natalie Bright, Coalition for Opportunity; Pat Terick, CPRF of Kansas; and Rick Cagan, National Alliance on Mental Illness.