Lobbying Day was a great success! Thank you to all of you who participated! We had over 45 people come together in Albany to discuss bills A-7632 and S-4599 with our legislators. This was about four times the number of people who lobbied last year!!
We are especially grateful to the families who so courageously told their stories over and over throughout the day, helping each Senator and Assembly Member to understand the issue in a way that only they can. We also acknowledge those of you who may not have been able to come to Albany, but are working tirelessly with your legislators locally, and helping to spread the word.
During our day in Albany, we had the privilege of presenting Senator Patricia Ritchie with an award for her sponsorship and support of our bill. The Senator was quite impressed by the sheer number of us present—it was standing room only in her largest conference room. Senator Ritchie spent time talking to us about her commitment to passing our bills and how critical it is that we gain additional co-sponsorship in the Senate.
Last year at this time, we had only 11 co-sponsors in total. Currently, we have 27 total: 11 in the Senate and 16 in the Assembly. Several of these legislators signed on immediately following our lobbying day—a real demonstration of how important it is to meet and discuss the bills.
This legislative session is still open until June 20th, so we still have time to get more support and work towards getting the bills out of committee and onto the floor for a vote. If your legislators are not yet co-sponsors, it is critical that you keep calling until they sign on as a co-sponsor and agree to work with the committee chairs (Senator LaValle and Assemblymember Glick) to get the bills out of committee.
As we learned in Albany, families really do have the most important voice. Lawmakers were moved to tears hearing parents talk about what it’s like to be without effective ABA services...simply because of a diagnosis. Parent and fierce advocate, Bobbi Rogers, described this inequality as “sitting in the wrong chair.” Six-year-old Jameson Herzig traveled to Albany with his family and spent the day with lawmakers because in NY it is illegal for his family to seek ABA services for him. We need YOU to stand together with families and speak up.