Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson (D-Rochester/Chili/Henrietta) announced that he helped pass a package of bills that supports and protects the rights of people with disabilities. The measures were passed on Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day, May 22.
In New York, we know that everyone deserves full equality, said Bronson. These bills ensure that people with disabilities are protected from discrimination and have the accommodations they need to live successful, fulfilling lives.
The legislative package includes measures to help keep people with disabilities safe in the event of an emergency. One bill requires counties with local emergency management plans to maintain a confidential registry of people with disabilities who may require assistance (A.6865). Another measure would require all high-rise buildings to maintain an emergency evacuation plan for residents and visitors with disabilities and make it available to emergency personnel (A.6287).
Bronson also helped pass legislation that clarifies that the use of a service animal is a reasonable accommodation to help prevent housing discrimination (A.7283). Another measure establishes the New York State Interagency Coordinating Council for Service-Disabled Veterans to better coordinate and provide resources available to them (A.5931).
To ensure equal access to voting, one of the measures requires that ballots printed in Braille or large-print be available by request for blind or visually impaired voters (A.4961-B).
Two bills in the package address the establishment of trusts to help people with disabilities get the care they need without spending their life savings. One measure excludes special needs trusts from the determination for medical assistance for people with disabilities (A.6743). The other requires the state Department of Health to inform eligible residents about the excess income trust program so they can pay for daily living expenses and still qualify for medical assistance (A.5175-A).
From housing to the workplace to voting, New Yorkers with disabilities unfortunately face barriers to tasks many of us take for granted every day, said Bronson. This legislation helps break these barriers down, instilling greater fairness and respect in our society.
The package also includes a measure to ensure all New York State employees have equal protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (A.2546). It also restores their right to sue the state for violations of these laws.