Governor Signs Jaffee Bill Expanding Computer Donations into Law

August 15, 2011

Albany – Ex-government computers destined for the scrap heap will get a new lease on life helping senior and low-income New Yorkers now that Governor Cuomo today signed in to law legislation (A8124) sponsored by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern).

“The prospect of perfectly good computers going to waste when the public has use for them is shameful,” said Jaffee. “This important legislation will put technology to work for the taxpayers who funded it, helping many learn the computer skills necessary to compete in today’s workforce.”

Jaffee’s bill, which costs nothing to taxpayers, authorizes governments statewide to donate their old computers to not-for-profit organizations that serve senior citizen and low-income individuals, such as the United Way and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Currently, state law limits government computer donations to a small group of authorized recipients, such as schools and non-profits serving people with disabilities. If not donated, old computers are discarded or very often sold at auction for mere pennies on the dollar of their cost, returning little, if any, value to taxpayers.

This legislation was championed by Rockland resident Hank Feinberg, founder of the non-profit organization PCReNew which refurbishes donated government computers and provides them to other non-profit groups.

Feinberg had earlier approached government agencies about acquiring retired computers his organization could distribute. However, Feinberg was informed that many of the worthwhile non-profits he was trying to help were ineligible to receive second-hand technology.

With the changes Jaffee’s bill will bring, Feinberg is confident more and more organizations will soon be able to benefit from retired government computers.

“This will enable non profits like ours to refurbish and redistribute millions of dollars of useful computers to local communities and citizens in need each year,” said Feinberg. “In today’s technological world computer literacy is as important as any other job skill. This will empower thousands of NY State residents to improve their lives and seek meaningful employment.”