FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 22, 2019

Contact: Pauline Barfield, Barfield Public Relations, 212-736-0404,
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Disability Rights Community Releases Budget and Legislative Report Cards In Advance of State Budget and Legislative Session
 
Albany, NY – Disability rights advocates have released report cards for the 2019-20 State Budget and 2019 Legislative Session. The disability community will be grading the Governor and Legislature on issues of critical importance to the community, including independent living, health, housing, employment, and transportation. Grades will be announced in April after enactment of the Budget, and in June, at the conclusion of the Legislative Session.
“With new leadership in the State Senate, and a voter mandate for change, the disability community is optimistic that our priorities will be fully enacted this year. Not all of our Budget priorities are in the Executive Budget released on Tuesday, but we’re hopeful that after the Budget amendment period and three-way negotiations that they will be,” stated Lindsay Miller, Executive Director of the New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL). “We’re hoping for straight A’s.”
The report cards lay out the policies which must be enacted, and the programs which must be funded, to ensure community integration for New Yorkers with disabilities. Priorities include increased funding for several programs which are critical to the independence of people with disabilities, and which have been severely underfunded in recent years. This includes increased wages for home care workers to address the home care crisis, and increased funding for home modifications through Access to Home to address the lack of accessible housing throughout the State. Other top priorities include increased funding for the statewide network of Independent Living Centers, as recommended by the Board of Regents. Also on the priority list is funding of the Office for the Advocate for People with Disabilities, which is currently an unfunded Executive Order signed by both Governor Mario and Andrew Cuomo. The Office is needed to provide people with disabilities a voice in state government.
“All of these priorities would help implement New York State’s already articulated priorities – the Olmstead Plan, the Employment First Initiative and the ABLE Initiative,” stated Miller. “We need the resources and laws to turn these policy statements into real programs that will help people with disabilities to realize true independence and community integration.”
 
 

Below is information regarding our 2019 budget and legislative priorities: