PRINTER'S NO. 1053
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
21
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY MENSCH, BARTOLOTTA, ARGALL, McGARRIGLE, YUDICHAK,
TARTAGLIONE, HAYWOOD, VULAKOVICH, VOGEL, COSTA, RAFFERTY,
BREWSTER, SCARNATI, BOSCOLA AND GREENLEAF, JUNE 29, 2017
REFERRED TO LABOR AND INDUSTRY, JUNE 29, 2017
AN ACT
Providing for competitive integrated employment in State, county
and local agencies and entities; establishing Employment
First, the Governor's Cabinet for People with Disabilities
and the Employment First Oversight Commission and providing
for their powers and duties; and conferring powers and
imposing duties on the Governor and the Office of the
Governor.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Employment
First Act.
Section 2. Findings and declarations.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1) It is the purpose of this act to ensure that
individuals with a disability be given the opportunity to
achieve economic independence through jobs that pay
competitive wages in community integrated settings.
(2) The current work force participation rate for
individuals with a disability is 20%.
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(3) Pennsylvanians with a disability are valued members
of society, and all members of society deserve to have the
opportunity to work.
(4) Significant changes have occurred and are continuing
to evolve with advances in effective support strategies and
technology.
(5) Each year throughout this Commonwealth, thousands of
high school students with a disability who use plans
developed in accordance with section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-112, 29 U.S.C. §
794) or qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act of
1990 (Public Law 101-336, 104 Stat. 327) graduate from
special education programs and are ready and able to work at
competitive wages in private sector and public sector jobs.
(6) The Commonwealth can realize a return on its
significant investment in young adults with a disability who
have benefited from a free and appropriate public education
and other State services by adopting policies that further
the goal of competitive integrated employment for individuals
with a disability.
(7) Hundreds of thousands of job openings are listed
every day, reflecting the challenges faced by employers in
finding and keeping a dedicated work force, which could be
resolved, in part, through the hiring of individuals with a
disability.
(8) Recognition and furtherance of the benefits of
meaningful work applies to all working individuals, including
the opportunity for competitive integrated employment for
individuals with a disability.
Section 3. Definitions.
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The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Cabinet." The Governor's Cabinet for People with
Disabilities established under section 5.
"Commission." The Employment First Oversight Commission
established under section 6.
"Competitive integrated employment." As defined in section 7
of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-112, 29 U.S.C.
§ 705(5)).
"Disability." As defined in governing statutes and
regulations of each State agency.
"Employment First." The policy of State agencies which
provides that competitive integrated employment is the first
consideration and preferred outcome of publicly funded
education, training, employment and related services, and long-
term services and support for individuals with a disability.
"State agency." Any office, department, authority, board,
multistate agency or commission of the executive branch, an
independent agency or a State-affiliated entity. The term
includes:
(1) The Governor's Office.
(2) The Office of Attorney General.
(3) The Department of the Auditor General.
(4) The Treasury Department.
(5) An organization established by the Constitution of
Pennsylvania, a statute or an executive order which performs
or is intended to perform an essential government function.
Section 4. Employment First.
(a) Policy.--It shall be the policy of the Commonwealth that
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competitive employment in integrated settings shall be the
preferred outcome for all working age adults and youth with
disabilities, regardless of severity of disability and
assistance required. Employment services and opportunities must
be offered to all individuals receiving publicly funded
services, regardless of whether they live in their own home or
in a residential setting.
(b) Implementation.--State, county and local agencies and
any entity providing publicly funded education, training,
employment and related services, and long-term services and
support for individuals with a disability that provide services
and support to individuals with a disability who are eligible to
work under Federal or State law shall comply with the
requirements of Employment First and ensure that the
requirements of Employment First are effectively implemented in
agency programs and services to the extent practicable.
(c) Collaboration.--State, county and local agencies and any
entity providing publicly funded education, training, employment
and related services, and long-term services and support for
individuals with a disability that provide services and support
to individuals with a disability shall coordinate efforts and
collaborate to ensure that State programs, policies, procedures
and funding support competitive integrated employment for
individuals with a disability who are eligible to work under
Federal or State law.
(d) Policies.--
(1) State, county and local agencies shall review their
respective policies relating to payment of service providers
to align payment policies with the requirements of Employment
First. State, county and local agencies and any entity
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providing publicly funded education, training, employment and
related services, and long-term services and support for
individuals with a disability shall ensure that providers of
service coordination, case management and authorization
services funded through the State Medicaid program, including
home and community-based waiver programs, receive financial
incentives that support the placement and continued
employment of individuals with disabilities in competitive
employment in an integrated setting.
(2) State agencies shall provide the designation of
employment champions, consistent with the designation
utilized by the Department of Human Services, to providers of
service coordination, case management and authorization
services funded through the State Medicaid program, including
home and community-based waiver programs, who demonstrate
commitment to Employment First and successfully support the
placement and continued employment of individuals with a
disability in competitive integrated employment. Employment
champions shall be provided increased technical assistance to
further support employment services. A complete list of
employment champions shall be made available on the State
agencies' websites.
(e) Staff.--State, county and local agencies and any entity
providing publicly funded education, training, employment and
related services, and long-term services and support for
individuals with a disability shall implement the requirements
of Employment First with trained and certified staff that are in
compliance with governing statutes and regulations of each State
agency.
(f) Assessment.--State, county and local agencies and any
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entity providing publicly funded education, training, employment
and related services, and long-term services and support for
individuals with a disability shall develop clear outcome
expectations for employment that include annual baseline
employment data and specific percentage goals for individuals
with a disability gaining competitive integrated employment.
Each agency shall complete an assessment of its progress toward
meeting these goals annually and ensure that the information is
publicly available and posted on its publicly accessible
Internet website.
(g) Progress.--State agencies are authorized to share
general, nonindividualized data and information across systems
in an effort to track implementation of Employment First. State
agencies are encouraged to adopt measurable goals and objectives
to promote the assessment of progress under this subsection.
(h) State agency compliance.--The following shall apply:
(1) State agencies shall make an effort to employ
individuals with a disability in no less than 7% of the
overall State work force.
(2) State agencies shall review on a biannual basis, the
adequacy of hiring, placement and advancement practices with
respect to individuals with a disability.
(3) No State agency shall be required to give preference
in hiring to individuals with a disability.
(4) The Office of Administration shall develop a
framework for individuals to self-report a disability.
(5) The State Civil Service Commission shall review and
consider changes in its policies and procedures in order to
support progress towards the initial goal established under
this subsection.
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(i) Initial plan.--No later than one year after the
effective date of this subsection, the Office of the Governor
shall develop an initial three-year plan based upon information
provided by the State agencies for implementing Employment First
for submission to the General Assembly. The plan shall identify
the specific policies and implementation dates for State agency
compliance with this act.
(j) Annual report.--The assessment information compiled by
each State, county and local agency and any entity providing
publicly funded education, training, employment and related
services, and long-term services and support for individuals
with a disability under subsections (f) and (g) and any other
information deemed necessary shall be sent to the Governor's
Office of Policy and Planning no later than October 1 of each
year for consideration and inclusion in an annual report by the
Office of the Governor to the General Assembly that documents
continued and improved State agency compliance with this act.
The report shall be submitted to the General Assembly no later
than January 30 of each year.
Section 5. The Governor's Cabinet for People with Disabilities.
(a) Establishment.--The Governor shall establish the
Governor's Cabinet for People with Disabilities. The Governor
shall appoint the members of the cabinet.
(b) Composition.--The cabinet shall consist of the following
members, who may not delegate their duties to other members,
except for good cause:
(1) Secretary of Human Services or a designee who shall
be an employee of the Department of Human Services.
(2) Secretary of Labor and Industry or a designee who
shall be an employee of the Department of Labor and Industry.
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(3) Secretary of Health or a designee who shall be an
employee of the Department of Health.
(4) Secretary of Education or a designee who shall be an
employee of the Department of Education.
(5) Secretary of Transportation or a designee who shall
be an employee of the Department of Transportation.
(6) Secretary of the Budget or a designee who shall be
an employee of Office of the Budget.
(7) Secretary of Aging or a designee who shall be an
employee of the Department of Aging.
(8) Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs or a
designee who shall be an employee of the Department of
Military and Veterans Affairs.
(9) Secretary of State or a designee who shall be an
employee of the Department of State.
(10) Secretary of Policy and Planning or a designee who
shall be an employee of the Office of Policy and Planning.
(11) Secretary of Community and Economic Development or
a designee who shall be an employee of the Department of
Community and Economic Development.
(12) Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Human
Relations Commission or a designee who shall be an employee
of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
(13) Executive Director of the Pennsylvania State Civil
Service Commission or a designee who shall be an employee of
the Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission.
(14) Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Housing
Finance Agency or a designee who shall be an employee of the
Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
(15) Executive Director of the Pennsylvania
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Developmental Disabilities Council or a designee who shall be
an employee of the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities
Council.
(16) Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Council on
the Arts or a designee who shall be an employee of the
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
(c) Powers and duties.--The cabinet shall have the following
powers and duties:
(1) To conduct:
(i) a detailed review of existing regulations,
policies and procedures relating to the goal of
competitive integrated employment for individuals with a
disability; and
(ii) a review and alignment of service definitions,
policies and payment structures within and across State
agencies.
(2) To develop:
(i) recommendations to the Governor, the Secretary
of Education, the Secretary of Human Services, the
Secretary of Labor and Industry, the Secretary of
Administration and the Secretary of General Services for
changes in regulations, policies and procedures necessary
to ensure implementation of Employment First;
(ii) recommendations to the Governor, the Secretary
of Education, the Secretary of Human Services, the
Secretary of Labor and Industry, the Secretary of
Administration and the Secretary of General Services for
the consistent collection of data and the enforceable
sharing of data;
(iii) recommendations to the Governor for
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legislative changes necessary to support and implement
this act.
(d) Collaboration.--The cabinet shall encourage the
development and adoption of agreements among local entities of
the State agencies to promote collaboration among agencies at
regional and local levels across this Commonwealth.
(e) Meetings.--The cabinet shall meet quarterly and shall be
responsible for coordinating the development of policies
designed to implement this act by each State agency providing
services to an individual with a disability.
Section 6. Employment First Oversight Commission.
(a) Establishment and composition.--An independent
Employment First Oversight Commission is established. The
commission shall consist of the following members, at least 51%
of whom must have disabilities, who shall serve for a three-year
term:
(1) Four members, not under the employ of the
Commonwealth, who are individuals with a disability or
individuals who are knowledgeable about the employment of
individuals with a disability. The following shall apply:
(i) One shall be appointed by the President pro
tempore of the Senate.
(ii) One shall be appointed by the Minority Leader
of the Senate.
(iii) One shall be appointed by the Speaker of the
House of Representatives.
(iv) One shall be appointed by the Minority Leader
of the House of Representatives.
(2) Two individuals with a disability, appointed by the
Governor.
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(3) Two parents or family members of individuals with a
disability, appointed by the Governor.
(4) Two individuals who have successful experience in
providing services and support to high school students and
recent graduates with a disability, leading to competitive
employment in an integrated setting, appointed by the
Governor.
(5) A representative of Disabilities Rights
Pennsylvania, appointed by the Governor.
(6) A representative of the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation
Council, appointed by the Governor.
(7) A representative of the Pennsylvania Statewide
Independent Living Council, appointed by the Governor.
(8) A representative of a State association of
accredited employment providers, appointed by the Governor.
(b) Meetings.--The Governor shall designate one member to
convene and organize the first meeting of the commission at
which the commission shall elect a chairperson and other
officers as it deems necessary from among its members. The
commission shall meet at least four times each year or at the
call of the chairperson. A quorum shall consist of a majority of
the members of the commission. All actions of the commission
shall be taken only after approval by a majority vote of the
members present after a quorum is established during a lawful
meeting of the commission.
(c) Reimbursement.--Each member of the commission shall be
reimbursed normal and customary travel expenses in accordance
with Commonwealth travel policies for attendance at meetings of
the commission.
(d) Progress.--The commission shall establish measurable
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goals and objectives governing the implementation of this act.
The commission shall track the measurable progress of public
agencies in implementing this act. All State agencies shall
fully cooperate with and provide data and information to assist
the commission in carrying out its duties.
(e) Annual report.--The commission shall issue an annual
report on October 1 of each year, detailing the progress made on
each of the measurable goals and objectives during the preceding
fiscal year. The annual report shall also include
recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly for
effective strategies and policies needed to support the
implementation of this act.
(f) Support.--The Office of the Governor shall ensure that
reasonable staff and support are made available to the
commission to carry out its duties under this section. The
Office of the Governor shall also ensure that administrative
costs, including money for travel expenses authorized under
subsection (c) and money for the distribution of the annual
report and other related administrative costs, are made
available to enable the commission to carry out its duties under
this section. The commission may seek the attendance and
participation of members of the cabinet in meetings of the
commission in order to assist the commission in carrying out its
responsibilities under this section.
Section 7. Training and outreach.
All State agencies providing services to individuals with a
disability who are eligible to work under Federal and State law
shall establish systems of outreach and training that provide
information to the following individuals about Employment First
and available opportunities for participation in competitive
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integrated employment:
(1) Individuals with a disability and their families.
(2) Providers of employment services for individuals
with a disability.
(3) Education, vocational rehabilitation and human
service officials responsible for services to individuals
with a disability.
Section 8. Applicability.
Nothing under this act shall be interpreted to supersede or
preempt Federal or State law. Nothing in this act shall be
construed to change, supersede, preempt or otherwise redefine
the term "age of majority" as it applies to individuals who
qualify under the provisions of the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act (Public Law 91-230, 20 U.S.C. § 1400
et seq.) pursuant to 22 Pa. Code § 11.12 (relating to school
age). This act is not intended to create and does not create a
prohibition of existing employment options and opportunities or
of the informed choices of individuals with a disability made
through a person-centered planning process.
Section 9. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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