Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica/Rome) announced that she helped pass legislation that improves on existing anti-discrimination protections for New Yorkers with disabilities and increases their access to vital resources in recognition of this year’s Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day.
“Independence shouldn’t be a privilege,” said Buttenschon. “Everyone deserves to live their life to the fullest and be treated with respect and dignity. I helped pass these bills to enable more people with disabilities to live as independently as possible with equal opportunities and access to the support they deserve.”
The legislation strengthens existing disability rights laws, as well as increases job and housing opportunities for those with disabilities and addresses emergency preparedness and public assistance needs. This includes measures that would:
• restore the rights of state employees to sue New York State for damages due to violations of 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.1092);
• re-establish the Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities (A.9004);
• clarify that “reasonable accommodation” to enable a person with a disability to use and enjoy a dwelling includes the use of service animals (A.7331);
• establish a small-business tax credit for the employment of people with disabilities (A.8996);
• create a tax credit for new or retrofitted principal residences that are universally designed to be accessible and adaptable housing (A.9005);
• require local social services districts, after considering certain factors, to give controlling weight to a recipient/applicant’s regular physician’s opinion when determining potential work limitations or exemptions due to a disability (A.8994); and
• aid localities in preparing for and responding to disasters by requiring counties with local emergency management plans to maintain a voluntary confidential registry of people of all ages with disabilities who may require evacuation assistance and shelter during a disaster (A.3923).
“People with disabilities face unique challenges and deserve the support and resources necessary to address their complex needs,” said Assemblywoman Buttenschon. “These bills will go a long way toward ensuring all New Yorkers are treated equally and have the tools they need to go about their daily lives.”