FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, May 31, 2019

Contact:  Alexander Englander, Communications Specialist, (518) 465-4650
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DISABILITY COMMUNITY APPLAUDS ASSEMBLY AND SENATE PASSAGE OF LEGISLATION TO REINSTATE THE STATE OFFICE OF THE ADVOCATE FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

The legislation now awaits Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature

Albany, NY (May 31, 2019) - On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate overwhelmingly passed bills A.4737 (Steck)/S.1674(Skoufis) to reinstate the Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities. This Office, originally created under Governor Mario Cuomo, has been unfunded and unstaffed through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s first two terms in office.
 
The reinstatement of this Office will provide a vital advocacy voice for people with disabilities inside New York State government. Under Governor Mario Cuomo, this Office was crucial in advising and assisting the Governor in developing policies to benefit New Yorkers with disabilities. Since the Advocate’s Office was defunded, critical disability advocacy programs and services had been transferred to the Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, then to the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, and are now largely non-existent.
 
Meghan Parker, Director of Advocacy at the New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) responded to news of the bill’s passage: “We have been urging the State to re-authorize this office for several years now as a necessary replacement for the advocacy and services that have largely disappeared. Re-opening and funding the Office of the Advocate has been a top legislative priority for the disability rights community and we are happy the Legislature has recognized how important this Office is to New Yorkers with disabilities and their families.”
 
“With Governor Cuomo’s signature, we will be keeping alive part of his father’s legacy while at the same time giving a new voice to hundreds of thousands of people across New York State,” added Lindsay Miller, NYAIL’s Executive Director. “We are especially appreciative of the leadership by Senator James Skoufis and Assemblyman Phil Steck in making this happen.”
 
 
About NYAIL – The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) is a statewide membership organization of Independent Living Centers (ILCs), community-based not-for-profit providers of advocacy, services and supports for New Yorkers with disabilities of all ages. ILCs are controlled by, and largely staffed by, people with disabilities. NYAIL strengthens local Independent Living Centers and is a leader in the civil rights movement for all people with disabilities.
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