That came in the form of the Randolph-Sheppard act, a federal law first passed by Congress in 1936 and later adopted by the state. The law was designed to help blind individuals find work by giving them first priority in setting up vending businesses on government property.
The Division of Rehabilitation Services administers the Randolph-Sheppard program, and has three locations on the Capitol campus that are now managed by blind vendors.
One is in the basement of the Capitol's West Wing, which has been in operation since the late 1940s. Another is in Building 7 but is currently closed for renovations. Another is in a building on California Street.
The operator of the snack bar in Building 7 is using a cart to sell items while the renovations are completed.
Because there already is a cart operation in the area, Pittman was told he couldn't have one of his own.
"We have a cart, so under the law they can't directly compete with us at the location," said Candace Ward, state Randolph-Sheppard program administrator.
Officials with the program say they're sympathetic toward Pittman's struggles, but they are bound by the requirements of the law.
The Capitol Food Court was again hit with several health department violations late this summer.
Many Charleston restaurants have complained that department's new inspectors are more likely to cite a business for critical violations the first time they're found. Pittman said the previous inspectors weren't lax, but were more cooperative to help eliminate areas that were out of line.
"They did a great job," he said. "They just would work with the business."
Pittman said he will have to hire at least two more staff members to make sure the inspectors' concerns are addressed. The current setup of the food court already required him to have four staffers on duty.
And while Pittman said he didn't feel his pricing was all that bad - a lunch could run customers anywhere between $7 to $10 depending on how much they bought - some Capitol employees disagreed.
"The so-called food court was a disaster from the beginning," said House of Delegates Clerk Greg Gray. "In fact, it has never offered decent meals at decent prices for employees, despite the fact that they pay no rent or utilities.
"Most employees cannot afford $8 to $10 per day for lunch, and those lunches were overpriced," he said.
Because they rarely had time to leave the campus to eat, legislative staffers had to stomach those prices during the session. They also ran into trouble in the evenings because the food court and the West Wing snack bar close at 2 p.m. even when the Legislature is in town.
"Many times, staff were tied up in meetings, and would rush down to try to get something, only to find that the doors were closed and we were not welcome," Gray said.
Department of Administration spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown said officials are going back to the drawing board concerning the food court.
Officials have been in contact with several vendors about running the facility, but Holley-Brown said it is too early to say if those talks have been successful.
The Pittman Group must give 60-days notice before shutting down. Pittman expects to operate on reduced hours and staff through the first week of December.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.