Assemblymember Paulin's Able Column
Important Legislative Matters - July 2006
As many of you are already aware, the New York State Assembly celebrated Legislative
Disabilities Awareness Day, which is cosponsored by the Task Force on People with
Disabilities and the Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental
Disabilities, on Wednesday, May 17, 2006. Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day brought
together advocates, people with disabilities and their families, legislators and their staffs,
and the general public to focus on the issues most important to New York's disability
This year's event was extremely informative and productive, but it was also celebratory in
that we honored all of the hard work that went into creating a successful disability agenda.
And most importantly, it provided those of us Assemblymembers with an opportunity to
share the legislative work we are pursuing, often in conjunction with advocates, to improve
the lives of New Yorkers with disabilities.
As we celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I would like to inform
Able's readers about some of the legislative measures the Assembly passed in honor of
Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day, several of which are aimed at reinforcing ADA
protections on the state level. The Assembly addressed obstacles faced by people with
Requiring ballots for all elections to be available in Braille, upon the request of a blind
or visually impaired voter. (A.1852/Koon)
Waiving the state's sovereign immunity to liability under the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) of 1990, restoring the rights of state employees to sue the State of New York
for damages due to violations of the ADA. (A.2159/Lifton)
Clarifying the scope of protections against discrimination on the basis of disability under
the New York State Human Rights Law in the areas of government services and public
accommodations, consistent with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the
current policies and practices of the Division of Human Rights.
(A.6328/Cahill & A.7294/Paulin)
Requiring access aisles of handicapped accessible parking places to be at least eight feet wide
and marked with a sign and diagonal stripes.
(A.7337/Paulin & A.7338/Paulin)
Designating polling places to be directly on a public transportation route, whenever practicable.
Requiring that programs or activities relating to housing which receives federal financial
assistance to comply with the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Creating and maintaining a housing registry of accessible or adaptable housing for people with
disabilities to be called "Access-New York."
Establishing emergency evacuation plan requirements for individuals with disabilities within
high-rise buildings and imposing a $500 fine for failure to comply.
Allowing specified drivers with severe disabilities to park for free at parking meters if certain
conditions are met. (A.10563/Paulin)
Authorizing savings from the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion waiver program to be
reinvested in housing subsidies for certain participants.
Now we all need to encourage the Senate and Governor to move on these important measures as well.
As always, I look forward to working with many of you in our continued mission to improve life in New
York State for people with disabilities.