Assemblyman Santabarbara Announces the Passage of this Year’s Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day Bills

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara announced that a five-bill package he co-sponsored strengthening and safeguarding the rights of New Yorkers with disabilities was passed in the New York State Assembly this week in conjunction with Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day on Monday, May 15th, 2023. The annual Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day includes workshops, speakers, and networking opportunities with people from around the State.

“People of all abilities deserve to live in communities where they feel supported and respected,” said Santabarbara. “About 1 in 5 adults in New York have at least one disability, and we cannot ignore the issues impacting their lives. While this bill package is another step toward creating a more equitable New York, for me, supporting disability rights is more than a one-day endeavor each year. It’s something I’ll continue working for all year round.”

The Assembly passed five bills to improve and streamline support systems to empower people with disabilities. These measures would:

  • expand an initiative that recruits New Yorkers with disabilities for jobs in the state government (A.6480);
  • waive the state’s sovereign immunity to liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act (A.6541);
  • establish a People with Disabilities Access to Programs Commission to recommend new laws to streamline access to services for people with disabilities (A.1200);
  • create the Commission of the Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing to improve supports for New Yorkers with hearing impairments (A.5683); and
  • update the executive law that established the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council to use “person first” language when referring to people with disabilities (A.6543).

“I am both a caregiver to my son, who has a disability, and chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Autism Spectrum Disorders,” said Santabarbara. “These two hats that I wear make this day all the more meaningful to me as an advocate on the ground fighting for disability rights and a parent with first-hand knowledge of the struggles people with disabilities and their families face.”