Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Brentwood) announced that he helped pass a legislative package that includes measures to assist veterans with service-related disabilities and ensure New Yorkers with disabilities are protected in case of an emergency. The measures were passed in recognition of this year’s Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day, held on May 30.
“Long Islanders with disabilities have overcome numerous challenges, and they should never be defined by their disability,” Ramos said. “They deserve to have every opportunity to live independently and free from discrimination. This critical legislation helps break down several barriers they face by increasing access to vital resources and ensuring stronger protections are in place.”
The Assembly legislation includes a key measure Ramos introduced to establish the New York State Interagency Coordinating Council for Service-Disabled Veterans (A.5931). This council would identify the needs of these veterans and help them gain access to appropriate state and local resources.
“These brave men and women put their lives on the line for their country,” Ramos said. “They’re true heroes and their sacrifices should never be taken for granted. This council will help make sure they have the support they need and the resources they have more than earned. Our veterans deserve nothing less.”
Long Island has faced devastating storms over the past several years, including Superstorm Sandy. These disasters can be especially challenging for people with disabilities. The Assembly’s legislative package includes critical measures to help ensure that New Yorkers with disabilities are not left behind during an emergency. One measure requires counties to maintain a confidential registry of residents with disabilities who may need assistance or shelter during a disaster (A.6865). A second bill requires owners of high-rise buildings to establish an emergency evacuation plan for occupants and visitors with disabilities, update and maintain the plan as necessary and ensure the evacuation plan is available to emergency personnel (A.10201).
The Assembly’s legislative package includes additional measures to increase access to resources and open up new opportunities, including:
- re-establishing the Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities to be a voice for New Yorkers with disabilities and ensure they are afforded an equal opportunity to exercise their rights (A.10706);
- requiring that a physician’s opinion is taken into consideration when determining work limitations due to a disability or medical condition that could affect public assistance work requirements (A.3045);
- protecting people with disabilities from housing discrimination by clarifying that “reasonable accommodation” includes the use of a service animal (A.7283);
- creating a tax credit for small businesses that hire an employee with a disability working at least 35 hours a week for a year or more (A.1369-A); and
- creating tax credits for qualified home improvements like no-step entrances and grab bars in bathrooms and for renovations or new construction with universal visitability design features to help New Yorkers with disabilities stay in their homes (A.5333-A, A.10668).