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photo of Jonathan Bing2008 Questionnaire response from:
Jonathan Bing, candidate for State Assembly (73rd Assembly District, Manhattan)


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Candidate Name: Jonathan Bing

Candidate for Assembly District: 73

 

Campaign Name: People for Bing

Campaign Address: 132 East 43rd Street (243), New York, NY 10017-4019

If you have a campaign office, is it wheelchair accessible? No campaign office

If you are an incumbent, is your district office wheelchair accessible? Yes

Campaign Manager: Benjamin Kallos

Phone: 212 - 628 - 2464

Fax: 646 - 349 - 4793

Email: Campaign @ Bing2008.com

Website: Bing2008.com

Previous elected offices held: Assembly Member 2003-present; State Committeeman 2000-2002

Previous appointed offices held: Community Board 6, 1998-2002

 

Key endorsements to date:

Community organizations:

  • Sierra Club
  • League of Humane Voters
  • Gay & Lesbian Independent Dems
  • Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club

Political leaders: Lexington Democratic Club

Labor:

  • Working Families Party
  • UFCW Local 1500
  • United Federation of Teachers

 

 

  1. ACTION SHOWS COMMITMENT!

     

    1. While in public office/prior to this campaign, what have you accomplished in regard to advancing disability rights? This can include work towards accessible housing, transportation, employment, health care, education, and including people with disabilities in the political process?

      While in office, I have introduced legislation sponsored by 41 colleagues to expand the Disabled Rent Increase Exemption (A. 7244) for rent regulated tenants and worked closely with the disability community on this issue. Legislation to significantly expand this program has passed the Assembly during both years that I have led this effort, but our work has been stymied by the State Senate. With the support of the disability community, I have rejected attempts to add only a fraction of eligible individuals to the DRIE rolls and to require DRIE participants to pay into the program. I hope and expect that with the upcoming political changes set to occur in the State Senate and in the New York City mayoralty, expanding DRIE in an appropriate manner is on the horizon.

      This year, I authored legislation (A. 8471) to create licensing for vision rehabilitation therapists and orientation and mobility specialists. This bill -- sponsored by 33 of my colleagues -- would ensure the safety of persons who are blind or partially sighted by licensing the trained vision rehabilitation professionals who work with them to restore their independent functioning within the home, school, and workplace. In May, I held a roundtable in Albany at which over 20 representatives from groups serving the visually impaired met to discuss the bill.

      As the Chair of the Assembly Mitchell-Lama Housing Subcommittee and member of the Assembly Housing Committee, I have authored and sponsored a wide range of legislation to protect affordable housing in New York. I co-sponsored the law that phased in an increase to $29,000 in the income eligibility for the real property tax exemption for disabled property owners. I have also sponsored legislation to create a New York State housing registry containing up-to-date information regarding accessible housing statewide for people with disabilities, and supported the law which created the Access to Home program to provide financial and technical resources to assist renters and property owners to make dwelling units accessible for low and moderate income persons with disabilities I was also a co-sponsor of "Timothy's Law," which was a significant step to end our health insurance system's second-class treatment of individuals requiring mental health care.

      Prior to my election to the Assembly in 2002, I served as the New York Coordinator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Legal Services Program after 9/11. In this capacity, I supervised attorneys responding to disabled New Yorkers with questions concerning housing, employment, health and environment, and a host of other issues. In addition, I authored a substantial 1996 law journal article on the subject of the mentally retarded and capital punishment. During the two-year process of writing this 91-page article, I learned much about the plight of mentally retarded defendants in the criminal justice system.

       

    2. Will you commit to only attend and/or sponsor events that are accessible to people with disabilities including providing written materials in alternate formats, providing assistive listening systems, and sign language interpreters as well as ensuring that locations are physically accessible?

      Yes.

       

  2. GENERAL QUESTIONS:

     

    1. What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities in your personal life and in the workplace?

      In December 1990, I was hospitalized for emergency surgery to repair a detached retina in my left eye. The surgery was ultimately successful, but for a period of a few weeks I did not know whether I would regain sight in that eye. The experience taught me to appreciate the difficulties that people with visual impairments or blindness must face.

       

    2. Are you willing to hire and to provide reasonable accommodation (e.g. flex or part time) for staff members with disabilities?

      Yes. The first person I hired in my political career was Micah Kellner, a person with a disability who was elected to the Assembly in 2007.

       

    3. How will you work closely with the disability community to assure passage of vitally needed legislation through the State Legislature? What will be your strategy?

      With regard to the DRIE legislation discussed above, I have brought together a coalition of advocates for the disabled - including the Coalition for the Homeless, Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Center for the Independence of the Disabled -- to work to advance this measure as well as prevent bills that would cause harm to the disability community from moving forward in the Assembly. I have also reached out to high-ranking staff members in the New York City Mayor's office to attempt to obtain the information necessary to have a reasonable discussion regarding expansion of this vital program.

       

  3. CIVIL RIGHTS

     

    1. What will you do at the State level to reverse the negative impact of recent decisions in Federal Courts which are undercutting the powers of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities in New York State?

      I have supported legislation (A. 7653) which has passed the Assembly on several occasions that would waive sovereign immunity for New York State for ADA violations. This legislation would allow New York State to be sued for failure to accommodate state employees with disabilities, or for failure to provide access to government services, programs, and activities.

       

    2. How would you change the laws of New York State to protect the rights of its citizens with disabilities?

      See legislation discussed above and below.

       

  4. MEDICAID

     

    While the State is focused on reducing the costs of Medicaid and other programs, persons with disabilities need to continue to have access to the services and supports they need and choose.

    1. Would you oppose proposals which would negatively affect eligibility, benefits, coverage, and/or access to services for Medicaid beneficiaries and eliminate the systemic bias that leads to unwanted placement in nursing homes and other institutions?

      Yes.

       

    2. Would you seek to promote comprehensive long term care reform that will not reduce coverage or access to services?

      Yes.

       

    3. Would you increase rental/housing subsidies to participants in the new Nursing Facility Transition and Diversion Medicaid waiver program?

      Yes. I have supported A. 7109, a bill passed by the Assembly which would create a housing rental subsidy from savings from this program who are diverted from entering or are leaving nursing homes.

       

  5. HEALTH INSURANCE

     

    1. Timothy's Law was designed to end health insurance discrimination by enacting parity in coverage for people with biologically-based psychiatric disabilities. However, returning veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are not covered. Do you favor amending Timothy's Law to provide coverage for PTSD?

      Yes. I am a sponsor of A. 10078, legislation that would require the inclusion of PTSD among the list of biologically based mental illnesses that would be covered under Timothy`s Law. I was a sponsor of the 2006 law which ensured that treatment of autism was covered by health insurance. (Ch. 557 of 2006).

       

    2. Under Kendra's Law, a state-funded Medicaid grants program was established to provide medications for eligible individuals with psychiatric disabilities upon release or discharge from institutions to eliminate some of the problems associated with the Medicaid coverage gap. Do you support Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility legislation which would eliminate the standard 45 days coverage gap that blocks access to treatment?

      Yes.

       

    3. Would you expand Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program (EPIC) to provide the same level of eligibility and coverage to persons with disabilities under age 65?

      Yes. I am a sponsor of A. 5178-B, legislation that would add low-income disabled persons to the list of those eligible for EPIC.

       

  6. HOUSING

     

    1. We are in the midst of a housing crisis. Accessible, affordable housing is in short supply. People with disabilities are being priced out of the market. Do you support the creation of a housing trust fund for persons with disabilities?

      Yes. I have also sponsored legislation (A. 7107) that has passed the Assembly to create a statewide registry of accessible housing for people with disabilities and supported a bill (A. 7138) to increase enforcement of Section 504 in New York.

       

    2. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires housing developers to set aside a certain percentage of accessible units for persons with disabilities when federal funds are used for construction. Do you favor incorporating these provisions into State law so that the Dept. of Housing and Community Renewal can be empowered to enforce these provisions?

      Yes.

       

    3. Visitability sets guidelines to ensure newly constructed multi-family dwellings have basic accessible/adaptable features to permit people with disabilities can visit, and for residents to "age in place," without having to move out when age and/or disability set in. Do you support incorporating the concept of "visitability" in the New York State Building Code?

      Yes.

       

    4. What is your position on expanding DRIE (Disabled Rent Increase Exemption) to have the same income eligibility limits as SCRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption)? Currently SCRIE's income cap is $27,000, while DRIE's is $18,600.

      Yes. As discussed above, I am working to make this happen. The most recent proposal from the New York City's Mayor's office on this issue would have raised the DRIE income eligibility level to the SCRIE threshold, but the bill was unpalatable to the disability community because it would have required participants to pay for half of the increase in rent imposed on a yearly basis.

       

  7. VOTING ACCESS & HAVA

    With the recent decision to acquire voting machines that attempt to meet the accessibility standards of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), many poling places in New York State remain inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Do you favor the elimination of provisions in Section 4-104 (1-a) of the NYS Election Law allowing waiver of polling place accessibility standards?

    I support many efforts to ensure that those with disabilities have access to the voting booth. I am a sponsor of A. 244-A, legislation which passed the Assembly that would require each New York State polling place to be accessible to physically disabled voters. I have also voted for A. 7103 which would require that polling places, whenever practicable, be on a public transportation route, and A. 7196, which would provide that ballots be made available in Braille.

     

  8. EDUCATION

     

    1. Despite Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, students with disabilities face problems when pursuing higher education. These statutes do not specify how students should request accommodations or assistance in asserting their rights under the law. Will you support a fully funded office of disability services on each SUNY and CUNY campus to assist students with disabilities in securing accommodations?

      Yes.

       

    2. How do you propose dealing with a school district that deny civil rights to disabled students even after the State Division of Civil Rights affirms the student's rights such as to use an assist animal?

      I will work with schools in my District to ensure that students with disabilities have access to a quality education. I am a sponsor of A. 3496, the "Dignity for All Students Act," that would authorize the State Education Department to establish policies and procedures for affording all public school students an environment free of harassment and discrimination based on their disability.

       

  9. TRANSPORTATION

     

    1. Do you favor an expansion of accessible transportation options for people with disabilities in NYS?

      Yes. For example, I convinced the New York City Department of Transportation to build a driveway in front of a senior facility in the heart of the Second Avenue Subway construction zone in the East 90s so that the residents would have access to wheelchair-accessible transportation. I have also supported A. 5954 to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to gasoline at service stations.

       

    2. Will you support Assembly Member Kellner's proposed bill requiring NYC to transition to a 100% accessible taxi fleet?

      Yes.

       

    3. Do you support legislation requiring car services, and all shuttle services to purchase wheelchair accessible vehicles or otherwise ensure that they have the capacity to serve persons with disabilities?

      Yes.

       

Date: July 9, 2008

 

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For other candidates running for State Senator and State Assembly positions, go to the Questionnaires section

 

 

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