WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation updating signs for people with disabilities, furthering New York State as an advocate of rights for people with disabilities.
The legislation amends an existing law that requires the removal of the word “handicapped” from new or replaced state signs and updates the accessibility logo. The bill signing coincided with the 24th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 25, 1990.
“New York has long been a leader when it comes to fighting discrimination to protect New Yorkers, including people with disabilities,” said Gov. Cuomo.
“This bill is an important step toward correcting society’s understanding of accessibility and eliminating a stigma for more than one million New Yorkers, and I am proud to sign it into law today.” The current universal symbol for a person with a disability is an individual with a wheelchair, which will be updated on all new signs to show a more active image. The word “handicapped” also will be removed from signs and other communication and replaced with “accessible.”
“A picture is worth a thousand words. The disability community is hindered by outdated language and symbols that stigmatize them and align them with a negative connotation or an image of immobility,” said Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D-Ossining). “These new signs and this new language call for businesses, schools, governments and organizations to help change negative to positive, static to mobile, and help to further incorporate our disability community into the mainstream.”