Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has signed a bill into law that would require contractors in the state to raise pay for workers with disabilities to at least the federal minimum wage.
Under the bill, the state’s government-funded Purchasing from People with Disabilities program would be amended to mandate all contractors participating in the program increase their wages for workers with disabilities to minimum wage, which is $7.25, closing a previous loophole.
The bill also states that in instances where a program is unable to employ all workers with disabilities after the measure takes effect, the program shall work "with the workforce commission and any other governmental entity to seek and obtain any job training and employment services that may be suitable for those former employees to find other employment that pays at least the federal minimum wage."
In pictures of the signing ceremony shared online, Abbott can be seen standing alongside Blake Pyron, the 23-year-old owner of Blake’s Snow Shack who has Down syndrome.
According to the local paper, Pyron and his mother, Mary Ann Pyron, have long been lobbying to bring an end to sub-minimum wages for Texas workers with disabilities.
"Our family is honored to be involved in this process," she told The Hill. "As a mother, I have always dreamed of Blake having the same opportunities as his big brother."
"This Bill is a step in the right direction," she added. "We have more hard work ahead of us, but we were made to do hard things."