Many issues that affect day-to-day life for people with disabilities are decided in state and federal legislatures. For example, a 1938 federal law permits some businesses to pay certain workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage because these workers tend to complete repetitive tasks. Employers looking to provide employment under this law must be granted certification. Some lawmakers and advocates in Tennessee attempted to change this, but they were unsuccessful.
“It’s just as much about helping those folks achieve a fair wage as well as sending a message that their labor time and effort is worthwhile,” says Jeff Strand, a Tennessee disability advocate.
Despite opposition from four Republican senators, the Tennessee Disability Coalition plans to resurface this issue in a future legislative session.