Governor signs expanded law for people with disabilities

Staff Reports Posted 26 July 2015 at 12:00 am

Legislation, passed on 25th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act, is first for Sen. Ortt

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo today signed two pieces of legislation that strengthen the state’s support of people with disabilities.

The legislation was sponsored by State Sen. Rob Ortt and is his first legislation to become law since he replaced George Maziarz in th Senate on Jan. 1. Ortt serves as chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.

He said the legislation is important to military members, and important to those in the disabled community.

“It ensures that the state’s laws and programs for people with developmental disabilities are better equipped to support those individuals in military families,” Ortt said in a message posted on his Facebook page. “This legislation shows our members of the Armed Forces that they are not forgotten. This signing coincides with today’s 25th anniversary of the ADA, which makes it all the more special. I am honored to be able to help give back to those who protect and serve our nation, as well as support individuals with developmental disabilities.”

The two pieces of legislation signed into law today by the governor are: A.136-A/S.1405 – This law codifies protections for people with disabilities who are refused access to places of public accommodation (such as hotels, restaurants, retail stores, recreation or entertainment venues and hospitals).

The law clarifies that it is discriminatory for an operator – public or private – to refuse to remove certain architectural or communication barriers in these spaces. It also eliminates an exception for the barrier removal requirement for public libraries.

S.5630-A/A.7766-A – This law directs the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to examine state laws and regulations pertaining to military family members and suggest any necessary improvements to make those laws and regulations better serve the families of people with developmental disabilities.

The law also directs OPWDD to study this issue in consultation with the Division of Military and Naval Affairs and the State Education Department.

Cuomo today also signed a proclamation marking the 25th anniversary of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Today, New York is continuing to protect the rights and liberties of people with disabilities,” Cuomo saids. “These two pieces of legislation build on our administration’s support for people with disabilities and make New York a better place to live and work for communities across the state. I am proud to honor the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and look forward to furthering the cause of equality for all people.”