ALBANY (WENY) – New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed a group of bills in support of people with developmental disabilities.
According to WENY-TV’s News’ media partner The Star Gazette, one piece of legislation in Tuesday’s bill signing demanded a probe of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on people with developmental disabilities.
In a statement, Gov. Hochul expressed her support towards the disabled community of New York.
“People with disabilities are a crucial part of our New York family and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” she said. “The bills I’m signing into law today will ensure people with disabilities are supported in health care, employment and beyond. Working together, we’ll make sure our recovery from the pandemic includes every single New Yorker.”
As Dec. 16, the State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) has reported 607 COVID-related deaths among group home residents.
Another bill requires hospitals to allow people with disabilities to have an “essential support person” accompany them.
Through the plan, the president of the Civil Service Commission will also be required to conduct a study on the employment of those with disabilities by the state. Previously, the state gad released a list of 1,200 jobs that would be a good fit for that group. The new bill would ensure the jobs would be available.
The plan also expands the group of people who appoint members of the Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council. Previously, the governor’s office had the power to appoint 33 members as well as the commissioner for the OPWDD. Now, only 15 members will be appointed by the governor, while the other 18 will be appointed by various legislative leaders.