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The National Federation of the Blind, which is not one of the lobbying powerhouses at the Missouri Capitol, keeps chipping away legislation that would help those with sight disabilities.

One of the biggest misconceptions about blind people is that they cannot contribute to the workforce. However, they can and do contribute to our workforce in a variety of ways.

Three bills being advocated this year by the Missouri chapter of the National Federation of the Blind would focus on employment and education that could lead to employment.

As we reported Monday, two of the bills, sponsored by state Rep. Sarah Unsicker, R-Shrewsbury, would define employment goals for people with disabilities and correct language requirements for correspondence with blind pension recipients.

House Bill 1276 would define a community-based, integrated setting as the appropriate employment goal for people with disabilities and address how those individuals would be integrated into competitive employment. The legislation outlines requirements for disability trainers, as well as training requirements for state workers providing job employment services for those with disabilities.

Another bill, HB1270, would drop the requirement that blind pension recipients receive only certified mail pertaining to their pensions. Unsicker said the requirement has cost the state more money and required blind recipients to go to the post office to get mail that could be put in their mailboxes.

HB1549, sponsored by state Rep. Chuck Bayse, R-Rocheport, seeks to allow parents and legal guardians to record certain educational meetings, overriding some school district's policies that normally prevent recording such meetings.

Advocates for the blind are not seeking that much this legislative session, and the legislation they are seeking are mostly common-sense solutions intended to educate and employ those sight disabilities.

-- News Tribune

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