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90_HJ0020 LRB9005573CBcb 1 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 2 WHEREAS, There are approximately 350,000 Americans who 3 are blind between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five; and 4 WHEREAS, The unemployment rate among this population is a 5 staggering seventy percent; and 6 WHEREAS, In 1977, the earnings test under Title II of the 7 Social Security Act for senior citizens and persons who are 8 blind were linked; and 9 WHEREAS, This linkage helped many persons who are blind 10 to become self-sufficient; and 11 WHEREAS, The 104th Congress passed the Senior Citizens 12 Freedom to Work Act which ended the earnings test linkage and 13 will increase the earnings limit for seniors to $30,000 in 14 2002; and 15 WHEREAS, The current federal law provides an earnings 16 limit for persons who are blind of $12,000 per year in 1996 17 and only $14,400 per year in 2002; and 18 WHEREAS, This limit is a major disincentive to employment 19 because, often times, after taxes and work related expenses, 20 working fails to provide an income greater than the 21 disability benefits that are lost as a result of going to 22 work; and 23 WHEREAS, Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) and 24 Representative Barbara Kennelly (D-Connecticut) have 25 introduced the Blind Persons Earnings Equity Act as S. 375 26 and H.R. 612, respectively, in order that the traditional 27 link be re-established; and 28 WHEREAS, Gainful employment is integral to the 29 fulfillment of the promises of life, liberty, and the pursuit 30 of happiness in the Declaration of Independence; and -2- LRB9005573CBcb 1 WHEREAS, The Illinois Constitution was ordained and 2 established, in part, to "provide for the fullest development 3 of the individual"; therefore, be it 4 RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 5 NINETIETH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, THE 6 SENATE CONCURRING HEREIN, that this legislative body 7 respectfully urges that the Congress of the United States 8 expeditiously pass the Blind Persons Earnings Equity Act; and 9 be it further 10 RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be 11 presented to the President of the United States, the Speaker 12 of the United States House of Representatives, the President 13 Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, the Secretary of the 14 United States Senate, the Clerk of the United States House of 15 Representatives, and the members of the Illinois 16 congressional delegation.
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