New Laws to Support People with Disabilities and Their Families

New Yorkers with disabilities are an integral part of our communities and that’s why we’re taking steps to ensure we never leave people with intellectual and developmental disabilities behind. It’s imperative that the state’s COVID-19 recovery effort extend to all New Yorker’s and this package of new laws I helped pass will support people with disabilities and their families as they navigate health care, employment opportunities and more.

The Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council (DDAC) is a workgroup that provides recommendations for statewide priorities and goals concerning those with developmental disabilities. That’s why I co-sponsored a law to diversifying this council so we can better serve all New Yorkers (Ch. 683 of 2021). I also helped pass a law requiring DDAC to evaluate and produce a report on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Ch. 711 of 2021). This report will further our understanding of the impacts and how to best support the disability community as the state continues to recover.

For those with disabilities, communication is often difficult, particularly during extended hospital stays. That’s why it was so essential to pass “Fred’s Law” so our loved ones with disabilities’ are assured the right to have an essential support person accompany them for the duration of their hospitalization (Ch. 689 of 2021). And to ensure our state has more equitable employment outcomes, my colleagues and I passed a law to study the employment of people and veterans with disabilities by the state, so we may ensure more equitable hiring practices while boosting opportunities for those with disabilities (Ch. 710 of 2021).

As the father of a child with autism, I know firsthand how important it is to increase support and services for differently abled New Yorkers. These laws are a step forward for people with disabilities and their families, and a positive signal of what is next to come as we prepare for the next legislative session.