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Legislature passes measure to aid disabled

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In what Senate President Andy Gardiner called the last of a “trifecta” of first-week bills, a measure to help people with disabilities get jobs is heading to Gov. Rick Scott.

The Florida Senate unanimously approved the bill (HB 7003) on Friday.

Gardiner, an Orlando Republican, has a son with Down syndrome and has pushed several bills this year to help those with disabilities.

The final bill in the package is intended to encourage state agencies to hire disabled employees. It also establishes a financial literacy program for those with disabilities and recognizes businesses that advance the cause of employing the disabled.

“This has been a good week for the citizens of Florida,” Gardiner said, seemingly beaming from the dais. “We’re changing lives.”

On Thursday, the Legislature approved a bill that would expand a program providing scholarships up to $10,000 a year to families of children with autism, Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.

It also passed a comprehensive water policy bill sought by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

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Capitol correspondent Jim Rosica contributed to this post. Reprinted with permission of The Associated Press.

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