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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Contact:  Alexander Englander, Communications Specialist, (518) 465-4650
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DISABILITY RIGHTS COMMUNITY TO HOLD LEGISLATIVE DAY MAY 1, 2019 AT NEW YORK STATE LEGISLATURE

Albany, NY (April 30, 2019) – The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) is holding its annual Legislative Day, at the Legislative Office Building, on May 1, 2019. Members of the disability rights and independent living community will be advocating for new laws to stop discriminatory policies against people with disabilities.

“People with disabilities are traveling from all across the State to make sure they have the opportunities everyone else has, by addressing areas of critical importance to their everyday lives,” said Meghan Parker, Director of Advocacy at NYAIL. NYAIL’s priorities include; re-establishing the Office for the Advocate for People with Disabilities; ending the unfair practice of paying subminimum wage to people with disabilities; and mandating accessible transportation. “If a person is not paid a fair wage and there is no available accessible transportation, how can they live independently in the community?” Added Meghan Parker

Lindsay Miller, NYAIL Executive Director added, “The Office for the Advocate for People with Disabilities is extremely important. The disability community desperately needs a voice in state government that represents all people with disabilities. Right now, we don’t have that.” The need for these policies has never been greater, as the Federal Government looks to gut funding to programs for people with disabilities.

“There are several bills already in the legislature waiting to be voted on. It’s our job today to inform legislators what passage of these bills would mean to our community,” said Meghan Parker.

NYAIL hopes meeting with members of the independent living and disability rights community will help move these important bills through both legislative chambers and onto the Governor’s desk for his signature.


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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 21, 2019

Contact: Alexander Englander, Communications Specialist, (518) 465-4650
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DISABILITY RIGHTS COMMUNITY RELEASES INTERIM BUDGET REPORT CARD IN ADVANCE OF THE FINAL BUDGET

The Report Card Highlights the Level of Support Given to The Disability Community Throughout the Budget Process

Albany, NY (March 22, 2019) – The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL), has released its interim report card for the 2019-2020 budget. This update reflects the budget proposals released by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Assembly, and the New York State Senate.

“We are extremely pleased with the Senate and Assembly’s budget proposals. Both the Senate and the Assembly rejected the cuts to the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) which the Governor had proposed in his Budget,” stated NYAIL Executive Director, Lindsay Miller. She continued; “We are also very pleased the Assembly proposed increased funding of $3 million for the Access to Home program, which keeps low-income people with disabilities out of institutions by providing home modifications.”

The report card lays out the policies which must be enacted, and the programs which must be funded, to ensure community integration for New Yorkers with disabilities. Those priorities include; increased funding for home modifications, increased wages for home care workers, increased funding for the statewide network of Independent Living Centers, and funding of the Office for the Advocate for People with Disabilities. The latter is an unfunded Executive Order signed by both Governor’s Mario and Andrew Cuomo. This office is needed to provide people with disabilities a voice in State government. The Senate included funding for it in their budget proposal.

“No one has articulated better than Governor Cuomo the regressive policy changes being advanced at the Federal level and their impact on New Yorkers’ lives. It is critical that the Governor and the newly elected Legislature, with its new leadership, follow through on its promises to our community. They must enact laws to protect our civil rights and provide funding to programs that allow people with disabilities to live independent, integrated lives in their communities,” states Susan Dooha, Executive Director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York and NYAIL Board President.

To view the updated Report Cards, please go to https://ilny.us/advocacy/advocacy-priorities.

 

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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