OBVI: Wisconsin Statutes and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

If you have a question that isn't answered below, please email the Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired (OBVI).

Employment laws

Wisconsin Statutes

§46.293 Specialized programs for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

  • The Department shall provide rehabilitation teaching services for persons who are blind or visually impaired including elderly persons and young persons and their parents or guardians, regardless of their eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services. These services may include assessments of each client's service needs, development of an individual service plan, instruction in Braille, training in orientation and movement in the person's home or neighborhood, counseling and guidance to increase the blind or visually impaired person's independence, instruction in the use of low-vision aids, personal and home management training and instruction in leisure activities. In conjunction with the provision of these services the department shall:
  • §46.293 (1)
    • Work with the blind and visually impaired persons, in a setting appropriate to each individual, to form rehabilitation plans for independent living to enable them to increase their self-reliance.
  • §46.293 (2)
    • Assist blind and visually impaired persons in physical orientation and personal adjustment.

The Biennial Budget Law

  • Approved by the Wisconsin Legislature and the Governor, appropriates General Purpose Revenue (GPR) funds to pay part of the salaries and travel expenses of Rehabilitation Teachers, and provides funding for program operations.

Vocational Rehabilitation

  • §47.01(6) "Vocational rehabilitation" means assisting a person with a disability to become capable of competing in the labor market, practicing a profession, being self-employed, raising a family and making a home, participating in sheltered employment or other gainful work.
  • §47.02(1) The state agrees to accept the provisions of 29 USC 701 to 796i, the rehabilitation act of 1973 as amended, and the provisions of 34 CFR 300 to 399 to carry out the purposes of the act and to adopt methods of administering the vocational rehabilitation program which will maximize federal participation.  The department shall sign agreements with the federal government under 29 USC 701 to 796i to provide vocational rehabilitation services.

Wisconsin White Cane Law 

Wisconsin Stat. § 346.26

Wisconsin has the White Cane Traffic Law, 346.26, which has been enforced since 1947. This law states:

Blind pedestrian on highway

(1) An operator of a vehicle shall stop the vehicle before approaching closer than 10 feet to a pedestrian who is carrying a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white trimmed with red and which is held in an extended or raised position or who is using a service animal, as defined in s. 106.52(1)(fm), and shall take such precautions as may be necessary to avoid accident or injury to the pedestrian.  The fact that the pedestrian may be violating any of the laws applicable to pedestrians does not relieve the operator of a vehicle from the duties imposed by this subsection.

(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to deprive any totally or partially blind person not carrying the white or the red and white cane or walking stick or not using a service animal, as defined in s. 106.52 (1) (fm), of the rights of other pedestrians crossing highways, nor shall the failure of such totally or partially blind pedestrian to carry such cane or walking stick or to use a service animal be evidence of any negligence.

(3) No person who is not totally or partially blind shall carry or use on any street, highway or other public place any cane or walking stick which is white in color, or white trimmed with red.

History: 1977 c. 302; 2005 a. 354.

Federal Resources

Great Lakes Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center

  • The Great Lakes Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center (Great Lakes DBTAC) is one of 10 federally-funded regional resource centers of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • They provide information, problem solving assistance, and referrals for implementing the ADA.
  • Great Lakes DBTAC serves Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

ADA - Americans with Disability Act

US Department of Labor

US Department of Education - Vocational Rehabilitation

Last Revised: August 31, 2020