Chair of People with Disabilities Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright Announced Passage of Legislative Disability Awareness Day Package

Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright announced the passage of legislation and resolutions in honor of Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day that will both improve lives and ensure the state is doing its part to achieve equity for people with disabilities.

“As the Chair of the Assembly Committee on People with Disabilities, the package of bills that we passed for Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day is a step in the right direction for achieving full equality for millions of people living in New York with disabilities,” Assembly Member Seawright said. “I commend Speaker Heastie and my colleagues for their support of the legislation passed today that will promote inclusion, dignity, and respect for New Yorkers living with disabilities.”

Chair Seawright sponsored and passed two resolutions in this legislative package. Governor Hochul will proclaim today, May 22, 2024, as New York State Assembly Legislative Disability Awareness Day, and proclaim June 16 as Neurodiversity Pride Day celebrating the acceptance, inclusion, and appreciation of neurodivergent individuals.

Assembly Bill 9553, sponsored by Chair Seawright, and passed by the Assembly 146-0, establishes a blue-ribbon commission to make recommendations for systemic reforms to the developmental disabilities service system, ensuring a sustainable set of supports and services are available in the future to meet the evolving needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Seawright said, “Establishing a Blue-Ribbon Commission to examine the current service delivery system for New Yorkers with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is vital to identifying the appropriate recommendations for person- centered decision making and ultimately a sustainable future system.”

With the passage of this legislative package, crucial supports are established for people with disabilities and their families to access the services they need including:

A1577 – to expand the duties of the independent developmental disabilities ombudsman program, ensuring that people with disabilities can get the help they need when navigating the service system.

A6541 – to restore the rights of state employees to sue New York State for damages due to violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

A1200 – to establish the Access to Programs Commission to make recommendations to the state related to streamlining eligibility requirements and processes for programs and services that assist individuals with disabilities, making it easier for New Yorkers to get the services they need.

A5815B – to require the Office of General Services to report on data related to the State employment of individuals with Disabilities, so we know where we are as a state when it comes to employing people with disabilities.

A6397 – to establish a task force to promote employment of people with disabilities in both the public and private sectors, continuing the important work of increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Over 30 advocacy organizations joined the awareness day in the Well of the Assembly to exhibit their services and lobby legislators.