101st Assembly District
Kevin Cahill

Room 557 LOB, Albany, NY 12248 • (518) 455-4436
Governor Clinton Building, One Albany Ave., Suite G-4
Kingston, NY 12401 • (845) 338-9610

For Immediate Release
Date: December 1, 2002
Contact: Kathy Keyser
(845) 338-9610

Assemblymember Cahill's Able Column - Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council Legislation Signed into Law - December 2002

As many of you have probably heard by now, legislation (A.9913B - Cahill/S.7342A - Maziarz) that we as disability advocates have long been fighting for, a measure to create the Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council in New York State, was finally signed into law on September 17, 2002 (Chapter 551 of the laws of 2002). Bringing this bill through the process of becoming a law was a rewarding, long fought and dramatic battle that was well worth every minute that New York's disability advocates invested into it.

This matter was brought to the attention of the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities and the Legislature as a whole as a direct result of the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead vs. L.C., which states that the unnecessary segregation of individuals with disabilities could be considered unconstitutional and a violation of a person's civil rights. Upon hearing the details involved in this issue, I immediately agreed. Not only do I believe that unnecessary institutionalization is a violation of a person's civil rights, but I feel that this matter could be considered the biggest civil rights issue we as a nation have faced since Brown vs. Board of Education. That's why I was more that happy to author legislation that will force New York State to do something it should be doing on its own - ensuring that people with disabilities of all ages are guaranteed the independence in our communities that they deserve.

The Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council will develop and oversee the implementation of a comprehensive plan to ensure that people of all ages with disabilities receive the services they need in the most integrated settings possible. Designed to include a fair representation of New York's disabled population of all ages, the Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council will comprise of the following individuals: the commissioners of the Department of Health, the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, the Office of Mental Health, the Department of Transportation, the Office of Children and Family Services, the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, the Department of Education, and the Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Also included are the director of the Office for the Aging, representatives from the Office of Advocate for Persons with Disabilities, and the Commission on Quality of Care for the Mentally Disabled, three consumers of services for individuals with disabilities, three individuals with expertise in the field of community services for people of all ages with disabilities, and three individuals with expertise in or recipients of services available to senior citizens with disabilities.

It is my high hope and expectation that people who are being wrongly segregated will find some relief in the very near future. And congratulations to all who fought for Olmstead implementation in New York for a job well done. I look forward to all of our future endeavors to better the lives of people with disabilities.

Assemblymember Kevin A. Cahill is the Chair of the New York State Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities. Anyone with questions, comments or suggestions can reach the Task Force office at 518-455-4592 or by email at