NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A1442
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the parks, recreation and historic preservation law, in
relation to the free use of campsites
To provide free access to state parks for semi ambulatory members of our
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one amends the Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation law
to provide free access to our state parks and recreation areas.
Section two provides the effective date of the legislation.
Article 13 of the Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation law allows
the blind, non-ambulatory, amputees and certain veterans of the wars of
the United States free access to state parks.
Current law allows the blind, the non ambulatory, amputees and certain
veterans free access to our state's public parks. Until 2010, those who
are semi ambulatory were also allowed access to our state parks by qual-
ifying for a free access pass. In 2010r this category was eliminated so
that currently people who walk with a cane, crutches, a walker or other
mobility aid can no longer qualify for an access pass. Also eliminated
were individuals receiving federal Social Security Disability, Supple-
mental Security Income or Railroad Disability. The 2010 changes came
about in part as the result of an internal review of the Access Pass
system prompted by a New York Times story and other reports of abuses by
those in the latter category who were receiving federal disability bene-
fits and yet were able to golf for free.
There were no stories of abuses by semi ambulatory individuals deserving
yet handicapped people who want to enjoy the benefits our parks can
offer them, and who, because of their disability are unable to enjoy all
of the benefits the fully able bodied have the chance to enjoy. In addi-
tion, while one of the reasons given by the Office of Parks, Recreation
and Historic Preservation for the elimination of the two categories in
2010 is that they are not categories contained in statute, access passes
are still (deservedly) given to the deaf and those with mental disabili-
ties, yet these are categories of individuals who are also not included
in the current law.
Certainly curbing abuses to the Access Pass system is a worthy endeavor,
however the removal of the semi ambulatory category has prevented
deserving individuals from accessing our park system as they were able
to do prior to 2010.
2021-22: A144 referred to Tourism
2019-20: A3663 referred to Tourism
2017-18: A.866 Referred to Tourism/S.1915 Referred to Finance
2015-16: A.1227/S.2537 Referred to Tourism
2013-14: A.2381/S.2112 Referred to Tourism
2011-12: S.6790 Referred to Tourism
Fiscal impacts would be minimal. The Access Pass system was changed in
2010 to eliminate two categories of eligibility from the Access Pass
program: the semi ambulatory and individuals receiving social security
disability, social security insurance or a railroad retirement board
disability. The move was prompted by abuses by those receiving federal
retirement benefits. Adding back the category of semi ambulatory would
be in keeping with the purpose of the program which is to allow state
park access to people with disabilities.
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
STATE OF NEW YORK
2023-2024 Regular Sessions
January 17, 2023
Introduced by M. of A. GUNTHER, COOK, COLTON, McDONOUGH -- read once and
referred to the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Develop-
AN ACT to amend the parks, recreation and historic preservation law, in
relation to the free use of campsites
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Section 13.19 of the parks, recreation and historic preser-
2 vation law, as amended by chapter 649 of the laws of 1977, is amended to
3 read as follows:
4 § 13.19 Free use of campsites. Notwithstanding the provisions of any
5 other law, any person who is blind, non-ambulatory, semi-ambulatory, or
6 an amputee or any veteran of the wars of the United States, who has at
7 any time been awarded by the federal government an allowance towards the
8 purchase of an automobile or is eligible for such an award shall be
9 permitted to use any of the public campsites, parks and other public
10 places of recreation in this state, upon the same terms and conditions
11 as apply to the general public, but without the payment of any fees or
12 other charges for the use of such campsites, parks and other public
13 places of recreation.
14 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.