Lifton: Legislation Helps New Yorkers with Disabilities

May 18, 2005

In recognition of Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day, Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D-Tompkins/Cortland) announced the passage of legislation she sponsored to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.

"This day let’s us focus on what people with disabilities need while acknowledging their important contributions to our state," Lifton said. "We also use the opportunity to promote issues that will help the disabled lead fulfilling lives."

Improving access and services

"Most people can vote without problems," Lifton said. "But people with disabilities sometimes require accommodation to use services many of us don’t think twice about." Lifton sponsored legislation to designate polling places on a public transportation route to help people with physical disabilities, seniors and low income individuals vote (A.7339).

Increasing handicapped accessible parking

"It’s inconsiderate for drivers to pull into spaces reserved for people with disabilities," Lifton said. "It can not only create a serious inconvenience but can jeopardize a person’s safety."

The legislation Lifton supported makes all of us more thoughtful before taking spaces a person in a wheelchair or with another disability rightfully needs to use. The bill requires handicapped accessible parking spaces to be marked with a sign and diagonal stripes to clearly identify their use (A.7338)

Curbing discrimination in government

"Eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace is foremost," Lifton said. "We must make certain prejudice against those of us who are disabled is eliminated and provide recourse for such situations."

Lifton sponsored legislation to ensure these considerations by:

  • restoring the rights of state employees to sue the state for damages under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (A.2159); and
  • strengthening New York State’s Human Rights Law to better protect against disability discrimination in government services (A.6328)

"Through their hard work, determination and the challenge overcoming everyday obstacles, people with disabilities show the rest of us what is possible," Lifton said. "We can help make their efforts easier and strengthen their resolve by enacting legislation that meets their needs."