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Lawmakers Grilled on Rights of the Disabled

Joe Chiodo, KMOX Capitl Bureau
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) – A rally at the capitol Tuesday led by hundreds of people with disabilities and their advocates sparked Missouri legislators to speak out on civil rights.
Rally goers could be heard chanting for hours hoping to make legislators aware people with disabilities have a voice in public policy.

The hundreds of attendees met with legislators to declare they are people first and want to be included in the community.

Democratic Senator Jolie Justus spoke to the crowd about her stance on disability rights.

“We’re going to be fighting on issues relating to funding, we’re going to be fighting on issues relating to discrimination, to bullying. We’re going to be fighting for issues related to independent living. And we’re going to make sure that everybody in this state has the right to vote and that their vote is counted.”

But Justus admitted disability rights funding would be tough to increase due to budget shortfall.

Republican Representative Zachary Wyatt told the crowd about his bill that would help get them the care needed to live within the community rather than in institutions.
Wyatt told the crowd if his bill is passed it could mean more money for disability rights.

“You look at the budget constraints that we have within our state, if that were to pass, that would free up some much-needed money and I would say it would be able to fund the blind pension program.”

The House recently gave initial approval to the state’s $24 billion operating budget with level funding for higher education but cuts to health care for the blind.

 

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