Rep. Brooks Says Changes To Tennessee Law Means New Employment Opportunities For People With Disabilities

Monday, May 19, 2014
Pictured L-R:  Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis; Rep. Kevin Brooks; Diana Jackson, CEO of Life Bridges; Eddie Cartwright, Life Bridges board member; Bob McIntyre, Life Bridges board member; and Comm. Terry Caywood, Life Bridges staff
Pictured L-R: Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis; Rep. Kevin Brooks; Diana Jackson, CEO of Life Bridges; Eddie Cartwright, Life Bridges board member; Bob McIntyre, Life Bridges board member; and Comm. Terry Caywood, Life Bridges staff

Rep. Kevin Brooks said he passed legislation this year in Tennessee’s House of Representatives opening up new opportunities for people with disabilities by changing a state law that already provides employment possibilities on government contracts.

The changes in the law will specifically impact people supported by Cleveland-based Life Bridges Inc., a community organization providing a full array of residential and day services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Diana Jackson, executive director of Life Bridges Inc., said that this change in the law is a huge step forward for Tennessee. “We are sincerely thankful to Rep. Brooks for not only sponsoring the legislation but ensuring its passage.

“This change in the law is designed to employ more people with disabilities in a broader range of government contracts by expanding the law to allow for profit companies to partner with nonprofit organizations thereby opening up new and more varied employment opportunities,” she added.

The new law incentivizes vendors holding government contracts to employ people with disabilities in settings that allow for more interaction with their non-disabled colleagues. These government contracts are approved by state and local procurement offices.
 
A March 14 release posted on the U.S. Census Bureau’s website said that, “Individuals with disabilities were less likely to be employed than individuals without disabilities, and those who were employed typically held jobs with lower earnings and also earned less than their colleagues with no disability.”
 
According to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, the statistics show that between 2008 and 2010, individuals without disabilities were about three times more likely to be employed than individuals with disabilities. Overall, individuals with disabilities accounted for 9.4 million, or 6.0 percent, of the 155.9 million civilian labor force.


Local GI Doctors Participate In Colonoscopy Performance Study

The gastroenterology specialty physicians of Galen Medical Group hosted visiting physician, Dr. Michael Wallace, professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla.  Dr. Wallace updated the Galen GI physicians on their baseline performance in identifying and removing precancerous colon polyps, a quality criteria these doctors have been studying for years.    ... (click for more)

Williams Accepted Into Chattanooga's Women's Leadership Institute

Chattanooga’s Women’s Leadership Institute announced their 2014 mentees and includes Joyce Ann Williams, senior tax accountant for Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain, PC, Top 50 Accounting Firm. Ms. Williams, received her B.S. degree in Accounting and her Masters of Accountancy from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  Prior to joining LBMC, she worked as a ... (click for more)

City, County Pull The Plug On Downtown Shooting Range

City and county officials have decided to keep the police firing range at Moccasin Bend rather than building an expensive new indoor facility at the former Farmers Market property. County Mayor Jim Coppinger said Sheriff Jim Hammond and new Police Chief Fred Fletcher met recently and decided to "pull the plug" on the project. He said officers felt that the Moccasin Bend range ... (click for more)

Reception Honors County's 2nd-Longest Serving Employee

General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck, at a County Courthouse reception, asked anyone who was working at the courthouse in 1966 to raise their hand. Only Circuit Court Clerk Paula Thompson was able to do so. Judge Shattuck said he believes only Edna Camp of the Criminal Court clerk's office, has been at the courthouse longer. Ms. Thompson did not seek re-election, ... (click for more)

Vote No On Health Insurance Changes Affecting County Teachers

Our Hamilton County School Board will vote on insurance changes effecting both active employees and retirees, who are not on Medicare at this time.  HCEA strongly objects to changes being made at this time and urges a “No” vote.  Insurance had been frozen three years by negotiations.  Since the Educators Professional Negotiations Act was nullified by the 2011 Legislature, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Al Sharpton’s Wise Remarks

I’ll admit I paid little more than scant attention to the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by police bullets in Ferguson, Mo., after he allegedly was involved in strong-armed robbery. There are too many tawdry details and, in my way of thinking, there is nothing under God’s sun, absolutely nothing, that gives others the right to riot, burn ... (click for more)