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photo of Eric T. Schneiderman2008 Questionnaire response from:
Eric T. Schneiderman, candidate for State Senator (31st State Senate District, Manhattan/Bronx)

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Candidate Name: Eric T. Schneiderman

Candidate for State Senate District: 31


Campaign Name: Friends of Schneiderman

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: Christina Harvey

Phone: 914 - 263 - 4443

Email: schneiderman @


Previous elected offices held: Incumbent


Key endorsements to date:

  • New York League of Conservation Voters
  • GLID
  • Stonewall Democratic Club
  • Working Families Party





    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?

      I was vocal in support of Timothy's Law and was proud to stand with my colleagues to advocate for the passage of this legislation. The issue lingered in the Legislature for far too long, and I was delighted to have voted for this legislation when the Senate Republicans finally brought it to the floor for a vote.


    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?

      I have made a real effort over the years to make my events fully accessible to persons with disabilities. Accessibility is a primary consideration when deciding on a location, and my office has often spoken to persons with disabilities when determining where an event should be held.




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

      During college, I lived with a roommate who was blind which help me understand the difficulties and challenges he faced on a daily basis. I have also worked with numerous people throughout my career as a lawyer and Senator. I served Governor Paterson's Deputy Minority Leader when he served in the Senate and worked with him closely on a daily basis.


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

      I would welcome individuals with disabilities to work on my staff or on my campaigns using flex-time or job-sharing.


    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?

      As a member of the Senate's Health and Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committees, I have worked closely with both the Chairs and Ranking Members of the committees to move legislation out of committee. We have been successful in passing critical legislation while the Democrats have been in the Minority, and I look forward to passing additional progressive legislation as we move into the Senate Majority.




    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?

      The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) provides comprehensive protections for the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. The recent decisions to weaken the ADA are absurd considering its positive impact on the lives of many disabled New Yorkers. One way in which we can ensure protection is by incorporating all of the provisions under the Americans with Disabilities Act into the New York State Human Rights law to eliminate any confusion that may take place on the state or local level.


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

      I would work with my colleagues in the Senate to pass legislation that would make the rights of citizens equal on all levels of government.




    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?

      I would certainly oppose proposals that would affect eligibility, benefits, coverage and or access to services that could lead to unwanted placement in nursing homes or other institutions.


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

      We cannot make any reforms that would reduce coverage and limit access to services.


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

      Yes, I would support an increase in rental/housing subsidies.




    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?

      I whole-heartedly support amending Timothy's law to provide coverage for PTSD. We must make sure that our veterans have access to the necessary care and services. No one, especially our veterans should have to endure this health insurance discrimination.


    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?

      I absolutely support Presumptive Eligibility for Medicaid. It is essential to provide a continuum of care and ensure that individuals have access to medications and treatments they need to contribute to society. Allowing a lapse to occur is short-sighted and will be counter-productive to any treatments already received.


    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 would support the extension of EPIC to low-income person with disabilities regardless of age and I support legislation to do so. This legislation did not come to the Senate floor for a vote this year, but I will urge all of my colleagues to support its passage.




    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?

      The solution to address our affordable housing crisis will require multiple strategies and policies to expand our affordable housing stock. To begin with, we must preserve and protect housing for persons with disabilities by expanding the DRIE program to include individuals earning up to $27,000. We must also continue to set aside affordable housing units for persons with disabilities in current and future developments, and state funding should be used to encourage and create such projects. Furthermore, we must increase our investment in supportive housing for persons with psychiatric disabilities, so that eligible individuals have access to both support services and quality permanent housing.


    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, I support incorporating those provisions into State law to be enforced by DHCR.


    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, I would support incorporating this concept into the New York State Building Code.


    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, I stated in my earlier response that support the expansion of DRIE to include individuals earning up to $27,000.



    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?

    Yes, I favor the elimination of such law which allows for polling places to receive waivers for accessibility standards. We should make sure that all polling places are easily accessible to people with disabilities.




    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?

      I would certainly support an office of disability services on each SUNY and CUNY campus to provide assistance to students with disabilities. I also support the use of Capital funding in this year's budget to update and improve accessibility on our SUNY and CUNY campuses.


    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 would encourage the State Division of Human Rights to complete a full investigation of any violation to a student's civil rights. In cases where a school district continued to ignore the ruling of the Division, I would support further legal action.




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

      Yes, people with disabilities should also have options of transportation. I will continue the fight to make sure that the MTA properly maintains and operates all elevators for persons with disabilities.


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

      Yes, I would support his legislation to make taxis accessible.


    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?

      I support legislation requiring car services to have wheelchair accessible vehicles.


Date: August 3, 2008


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