TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice that aims to alleviate the disparate treatment of racial minorities with disabilities is now law.
The law (S-900) requires the state Commissioner of Health, in consultation with the Commissioner of Human Services, to undertake a review of the impact of disabilities upon persons in minority and underrepresented communities. The Commissioner must report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and to the Legislature within 12 months.
“We know that many barriers exist for racial and ethnic minorities when it comes to obtaining employment, getting a quality education, and receiving health care and other services they are entitled to under the law,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex). “When a person who is a racial or ethnic minority has a disability, they often times experience double-discrimination. We have to find ways to ensure that individuals who have disabilities receive the appropriate services and equal treatment. The purpose of this review is to give us an idea of the range and the breadth of the problems faced by minorities with disabilities so that we can develop a roadmap to addressing them.”
The Senate passed the bill in June by a vote of 36-0; the Assembly approved it in December by a vote of 65-12. The law takes effect immediately.