Assemblymember 101st Assembly District
For Immediate Release
Date: July 16, 2004
Contact: Kathy Keyser
New York State Assembly Hosts 2004 Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Task Force on People with Disabilities Chair Kevin Cahill and Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Chair Peter Rivera today announced anticipated Assembly action on a series of bills aimed at guaranteeing access, basic rights and benefits for people with disabilities as the New York State Assembly observes Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day.
Sponsored by Silver, Cahill and Rivera, the annual event seeks to raise public awareness both about the needs and the many contributions of New York's disabilities community.
"From election law reform to ensuring health care access and basic rights, the Assembly Majority has worked to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers. We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship of mutual respect with the disabilities community," said Speaker Silver (D-Manhattan). "While it is with tremendous pride and honor that I join in the celebration, I know that as a state and as a nation, we have a long way to go before we can say that we have adequately addressed the concerns of the disabilities community."
"I am honored to be a co-sponsor of this important program that provides a chance to educate legislators, their staffs and the public on important issues that this community faces daily," Mr. Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess), said. "This multi-faceted event also presents an opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of advocates and persons with disabilities. I have welcomed all opportunities to reach out to my colleagues and the public to inform people about the needs and priorities of people with disabilities across New York State."
"I can not overstate the significance of today's show of strength by the disabilities community," Mr. Rivera (D-Bronx) said. "From electoral reform to advocating for equal opportunity, all New Yorkers are the beneficiaries of the battles being fought by people with disabilities. I look forward to continuing to join hands in our work to improve the lives of all New Yorkers."
Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day Events
Participating as guest of honor in the Assembly program is James C. Dickson, Vice President of the American Association of People with Disabilities and Co-Chair of the Leadership Council on Civil Rights Election Reform Task Force.
More than 45 organizations will be on hand to distribute information about the products, programs, technologies and services they provide for people with disabilities. In addition, a fourth-grade poster contest and an exhibit of artwork by people with disabilities will be showcased. The winner of the Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day Poster Contest, Brittney Krom from Ellenville Elementary School, will be presented with an award for her entry.
Seminars are being held in Hearing Rooms B and C in the Legislative Office Building on various disabilities issues. The topics to be discussed are:
2004 Disabilities Awareness Day Legislative Package
Cahill noted the Assembly is expected to act later this afternoon on a 10-bill package of legislation, crafted with the assistance of disabilities advocates, and aimed at ensuring fairness and equity in New York State.
"This year, we spent a significant amount of time formulating a legislative agenda for today's program that focuses on the themes of access, basic rights and benefits," Assemblymember Cahill noted. "Several legislative measures involving many of the issues that disabilities advocates have been fighting tirelessly for throughout this past year are set to be passed in recognition of Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day."
Bills in the 2004 legislative package include:
"We expect today's events to be a huge success," Mr. Cahill concluded. "I applaud the Assembly leadership in its commitment to people with disabilities. I urge the Senate and Governor to join us in our effort to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers, including those with disabilities, in the fight to help people remain active, independent members of our communities."