NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A5141B
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to
vocational rehabilitation services for enhancing communication support
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To offer consumers of vocational
rehabilitation services in the State of New York access to communication
support services in order to improve their ability to secure gainful and
meaningful employment outcomes.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1: The education law is amended by adding a new section 1004-c,
Communication support services. This new section directs the commission-
er of education to promulgate new regulations to include communication
support services as a vocational rehabilitation service, defines indi-
viduals eligible for such support and how services should be rendered,
and defines 'communication support services' for the purposes of this
Section 2: Effective Date
JUSTIFICATION: In New York State, unemployment rates are substantially
higher for people with disabilities. Vocational rehabilitation services
are instrumental by providing employment and rehabilitation services to
those seeking gainful and meaningful employment. The inclusion of commu-
nication support services in the suite of vocational rehabilitation
services offered through programs like ACCES VR could improve employment
outcomes for some job-seekers, particularly those with autism.
Many individuals with disabilities, including those on the autism spec-
trum, may have difficulty with interpersonal communication that can
hinder their ability to find and maintain employment, even when they
possess job skills, higher education, and access to existing vocational
This bill addresses these shortcomings by directing the commissioner of
the New York State Education Department to promulgate new regulations to
rehabilitation services program staff to include communication support
among the suite of services currently offered to job seekers.
In the context of this bill, communication support is defined as treat-
ment and services that focus on improving communication-related skills.
These include, but are not limited to, dialog strategies for initiating
and exiting communication of intent, topic maintenance, dissolving
hostile situations resulting from ineffective attempts at independent
communication, preparing, strategizing and organizing information for
written communication, and preparing for upcoming interpersonal communi-
Finally, this legislation requires that these services be provided by
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New legislation.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect January 1, 2017.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2015-2016 Regular Sessions
February 12, 2015
Introduced by M. of A. SANTABARBARA, RUSSELL, MILLER, CROUCH, ZEBROWSKI,
GUNTHER, ABINANTI, SCHIMEL, GRAF, MONTESANO, DUPREY, FINCH, McDONALD,
FAHY -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. CLARK, GALEF, KEARNS, MOSLEY,
RIVERA, SIMON, SOLAGES -- read once and referred to the Committee on
Education -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as
amended and recommitted to said committee -- again reported from said
committee with amendments, ordered reprinted as amended and recommit-
ted to said committee
AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to vocational rehabili-
tation services for enhancing communication support
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new section 1004-c
2 to read as follows:
3 § 1004-c. Communication support services. 1. The commissioner is here-
4 by directed to promulgate rules and regulations to include communication
5 support services as a vocational rehabilitation service as defined by
6 paragraph a of subdivision five of section one thousand two of this
7 article. Any individual who shall have been diagnosed with a pragmatic
8 language impairment or whose employment prospects may reasonably benefit
9 from an improved capacity to communicate shall qualify for communication
10 support services. All referrals made pursuant to this section shall be
11 made to individuals licensed, certified, registered or otherwise quali-
12 fied under existing state laws, rules and regulations. Nothing herein
13 shall be construed to alter or define scope of practice under existing
14 state laws, rules and regulations.
15 2. For the purposes of this section, "communication support services"
16 shall mean treatment or services that focus on communication-related
17 skills including, but not limited to, dialogue strategies for:
18 (i) initiating and exiting communication of intent;
19 (ii) topic maintenance;
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 5141--B 2
1 (iii) defusing hostile situations that result from ineffective
2 attempts at independent communication;
3 (iv) preparing, strategizing, and organizing information for written
4 or electronic correspondence; and
5 (v) preparing for upcoming interpersonal communication situations.
6 § 2. This act shall take effect January 1, 2017.