ADVOCATES PRAISE GOVERNOR FOR GIVING DISABLED NEW YORKERS REPRESENTATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 4, 2022
CONTACT: Zach Garafalo, Manager of Government Affairs, Center for Disability Rights, 518-362-7916, firstname.lastname@example.org
ALBANY, NY – The Center for Disability Rights and Disability Justice groups across the State applaud Governor Hochul for signing legislation (A3130 [Steck] /S1836 [Skoufis]) which gives Disabled New Yorkers permanent representation in State government. The bill, popularly referred to as the “Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities” was signed with a chapter amendment changing the name to the “Office of the Chief Disability Officer.” Its statutory functions remained the same.
“As a Black Deaf Muslim Immigrant, I can see that Governor Hochul understands the importance of engagement and representation. Today, she acknowledged that our existing systems didn’t address the needs of Deaf and Disabled people like me,” said Ayisha Salifu, Deaf Systems Advocate at the Regional Center for Independent Living. “It also is important for BIPOC with disabilities that she signed this during Black History Month.”
“While there are State agencies that address individuals with specific diagnoses, until today, there was no way to address the needs of many Disabled New Yorkers, including those who are Deaf,” said Bruce Darling, President/CEO of the Center for Disability Rights. “We will now have a new Office that will work across State agencies to identify and address the needs of the Disability Community at the executive level.”
“Today, Governor Hochul began to dismantle the ableist structures that excluded Disabled New Yorkers and left us unrepresented in State government,” said Zach Garafalo, Manager of Government Affairs at the Center for Disability Rights. “She made it perfectly clear that she values our experiences and that the Disability Community is integral to her vision for a “new New York.”
The Office of the Chief Disability Officer will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and advancing state compliance with the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision by providing leadership to the Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council (MISCC). Additionally, the Office of the Chief Disability Officer will ensure the perspectives of the Disability Community are represented in discussions about issues affecting people with disabilities including:
● Nursing facility transition and diversion;
● The homecare wage crisis;
● Subminimum wage;
● Emergency preparedness and disaster response; and,
● Disability awareness training for police officers.
“Governor Hochul has championed inclusion her entire career,” said Garafalo. “Today she showed us that this extends to Disabled New Yorkers. We are excited to continue to build a productive relationship with the Governor and her team, and we look forward to advancing forward thinking policies that promote the full integration and independence of Disabled New Yorkers.”