Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Assemblywoman Jenne: Legislation supports, protects New Yorkers with disabilities

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, announced that she helped pass a series of bills to strengthen anti-discrimination protections and expand access to critical resources for people with disabilities.

The legislation was passed in recognition of this year’s Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day, which is May 30.

“New Yorkers living with disabilities face a host of challenges on a daily basis, and it’s our duty to help our fellow community members lead the best possible lives,” Assemblywoman Jenne said.

“By working to eliminate barriers, like housing and employment discrimination, we can ensure that individuals with disabilities have the opportunities and resources they deserve,” she added.

The Assembly legislation includes a measure that would waive the state’s sovereign immunity with regard to certain federal legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as they apply to the protection of state employees (A.2546).

Assemblywoman Jenne also helped pass a bill re-establishing the Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities, which would advocate for persons with disabilities and ensure that they are afforded the opportunity to exercise all of the rights and responsibilities accorded to all citizens of the state of New York (A.10706).

In addition, the Assembly legislation clarifies that reasonable housing accommodation includes the use of an animal to alleviate the symptoms or effects of a disability (A.7283).

To help more individuals living with disabilities remain in their own homes, the Assembly passed legislation to provide tax credits for homeowners who make their homes more accessible for people with disabilities (A.5333-A, A.10668).

These critical tax incentives will allow people with disabilities to remain in their houses and in the communities they call home, Assemblywoman Jenne said.

To ensure veterans with service-related disabilities can easily access the resources and support they need and deserve, the Assembly passed legislation to establish the New York State Interagency Coordinating Council for Service-Disabled Veterans (A.5931-A).

"This is critically important in the River District, where we have a number of soldiers at Fort Drum that choose to remain in the North Country after suffering significant injuries in combat," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

She also helped pass legislation to combat employment discrimination by establishing a small business tax credit for the employment of people with disabilities (A.1369-A).

The legislative package would also:

• require high-rise building owners to establish and maintain an emergency evacuation plan for disabled occupants and visitors, as well as ensure the plan is readily available to first responders (A.10201);

• require counties with local emergency management plans to maintain a confidential, voluntary registry of people of all ages with disabilities who may require evacuation assistance and shelter during a disaster (A.6865); and

• expand access to complex rehabilitation technology (CRT), such as customized wheelchairs, for Medicaid patients with disabilities (A.10604).

Assemblywoman Jenne has been a staunch advocate for those with disabilities in the North Country and across the state.

She also co-sponsored a bill to create an optional identification card program for individuals with developmental disabilities (A.249-C), which passed the Assembly earlier this year.