ALBANY, N.Y. (WENY) - Governor Kathy Hochul signed a series of bills that strengthens the rights of New Yorkers with disabilities.

The governor's office says the bills encourage the public to educate themselves about the ways people with disabilities contribute to their communities.

"The Americans With Disabilities Act established a comprehensive national mandate prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in all its forms," Governor Hochul said. "With the bills I am signing today, New York State honors the ADA's legacy by expanding the rights of people with disabilities and combating stigma so that people with disabilities can live rich and full lives. To make the New York dream a reality, we will continue to make New York inclusive, integrated and accessible for all."

Legislation (S.7107b/A.8586b) recognizes Supported Decision-Making as a less restrictive alternative to guardianship that promotes autonomy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and empowers them to take an active role in making choices about their own lives.

Legislation (S.6300c/A.7356c) requires OPWDD to develop and implement a public awareness campaign that combats discrimination stigma and stereotyping of people with developmental disabilities.

Legislation (A.7882a/S.6789a) replaces references to "mentally retarded" in numerous sections of New York State law to more accurate terms such as with "people with intellectual or developmental disabilities."

Legislation (S.6195-B A.7443-C) replaces certain references to "mentally retarded" or "mentally ill" persons with the term "individuals with a developmental disability."

Legislation (A.7652/S.9335) eliminates the state residency requirement for designated beneficiaries in the New York Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program, which is designed to help pay for qualified disability expenses. Conforming state law with the federal ABLE Act will increase participation in New York's ABLE program, lower administrative costs, and benefit program account owners.

In addition to the bills signed today, Governor Hochul highlighted legislation that was signed earlier this month that increases enforcement of rules related to disabled access parking spaces (A9805 /S882) and increases fines for dumping or plowing snow onto accessible parking places (A9702B /S 1271-B).

These bills demonstrate the state's commitment to ensuring equal access for people with disabilities.