2 Community-Friendly Bills Become Law In NY

ALBANY -

Two bills that help Shabbos observers and Orthodox families were signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Both bills, one which makes Shabbos a non-business day for car inspections and another easing special education bureaucracy, were sponsored by Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) in the Senate and Helene Weinstein (D-Brooklyn) in the Assembly.

Previously, the law encouraged timely car repairs by offering a full waiver if repairs were made within one business day, excluding Sundays and federal holidays. This meant that a Shabbos observer who received a summons late Friday afternoon, and could not make the necessary repairs until Sunday, was unable to take advantage of the grace period.

The new measure remedies this oversight.

The other bill will streamline the process for preschool special education students who require an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). State law required the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) to have another parent of a learning-disabled child present during the annual review of a child’s IEP. The second parent, a volunteer from or near the school district, had no part in the development of the IEP.

Approximately 40,000 preschool IEP meetings are held annually by the New York City Department of Education. Because school districts had to rely on parent volunteers to attend meetings of the CPSE, the development of each child’s IEP was significantly prolonged and became increasingly expensive.

The new bill removes the requirement for an additional parent unless requested in writing 72 hours in advance by the child’s parents or a member of the CPSE. This results in a yearly savings of $42,000 to the Department of Education and eases the burden on parents of preschool special education children.

“This legislation is a perfect example of how Senator Felder has his hand on the pulse where it matters most: at ground level where the actual case-by-case decisions are being made to help students with special needs,” said Mrs. Leah Steinberg, Director of Project Learn for Agudath Israel of America. “Here, both districts and the students with special needs they serve will come out ahead. This new law is truly a win-win for all.”