July 26, 2010

Twentieth Anniversary of the
Americans with Disabilities Act Honored by Assembly

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Task Force on People with Disabilities Chair Michael J. Cusick today announced the passage of an Assembly resolution commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Adopted on June 30, 2010, the resolution (K.1641/Cusick) affirms the ideals of independence, integration, equality and inclusion that the ADA has stood for since its inception on July 26th, 1990.

"This past May, the Assembly passed an eighteen-bill package of legislation to make New York State law consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide greater protections for New York's disability community," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "The twentieth anniversary of the ADA not only commemorates the enactment of federal legislation instituting anti-discriminatory measures for people with disabilities-it reminds all of us that we must be vigilant in ensuring that all New Yorkers have equal rights."

"It's hard to believe that twenty years have passed since this monumental civil rights act was signed into law," said Cusick (D-Staten Island). "And while strides have been taken to protect the rights and needs of people with disabilities, unfortunately, much work remains. In the state Assembly, we have a long standing tradition of upholding all of the rights and protections offered under the ADA. In fact, on the Assembly's annual Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day, which was held in Albany on May 17th, we passed three measures that incorporate ADA protections into state law."

Two of the bills approved by the Assembly on Disabilities Awareness Day later passed the New York State Senate. These measures, if signed into law by the Governor, would:

An additional bill passed by the Assembly aimed at reinforcing ADA protections on the state level would waive the state's sovereign immunity with regard to application of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act as they apply to the protection of state employees (A.3651/Lifton).