By Rebecca Blatt
In Maryland, the Montgomery County Council has approved a bill to help disabled applicants get county government jobs. The bill establishes a "hiring preference." It means that if someone with a disability is among the highest rated in a pool of applicants, that person gets priority.
Councilman Phil Andrews, a chief sponsor, says it will help address the county's 31 percent unemployment rate among adults with disabilities.
"We're recognizing that there has historically been discrimination against people with disabilities, and there is a need to take some additional step in order to level the playing field," says Andrews.
Andrews says the county has been working toward the legislation for more than 20 years, and he thinks there are several more steps it needs to take.
He suggests forming a hiring authority to bring people with disabilities directly into specific positions. That would require a vote of approval from residents.
A slate of new legislation has received an endorsement by the Virginia State Crime Commission that they say would give law enforcement more tools to investigate and prosecute child abuse.