senate Bill S1571

Establishes the environmental sustainability education act

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Bill Status

  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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  • 10 / Jan / 2011
  • 04 / Jan / 2012


Requires the department of education to establish an education for environmental sustainability program to teach children the importance of conserving and protecting our environment.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
Legislative Cycle:
Senate Environmental Conservation
Law Section:
Environmental Conservation
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2009-2010: S4561, A3726, A9384
2007-2008: A8429A

Sponsor Memo


An act
to amend the general municipal law and the public health law, in
relation to the training of police officers and firefighters

This bill amends the general municipal law and the public health law,
in relation to the training of police officers, firefighters and
emergency responders with respect to persons with disabilities; the
training is designed to further educate first responders on the
appropriate recognition and response techniques for handling
emergency situations involving persons with disabilities.


Section 1. Amends the general municipal law by adding a new section
209-ff to require training for police officers and firefighters with
respect to persons with disabilities.

Sub-section (1) (a). Provides that the Commissioner of the New York
State Division of Criminal Justice Services in consultation with the
Commissioner of the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities
along with disability advocacy groups shall review the
training course entitled "persons with Disabilities" under the "Basic
Course" to make necessary modifications to include additional
information on developmental disabilities and hearing impairments.
Further, that the training course be administered by the Commission
on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities,
created under article forty-five of the mental hygiene law, as part
of the in-service training provided to police officers.

Subsection (1) (b). Provides that every local police officer shall
complete the above-mentioned training course and that every police
officer appointed prior to the effective date of this law shall
complete the course within thirty-six months.

Subsection (2) (a). Provides that the State Fire Administrator of the
Office of Fire Prevention and Control in consultation with the
Commissioner of the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities
along with disability advocacy groups shall adapt training
programs in accordance with (1) (a) above within sixteen months.

Subsection (2) (b), Provides that all individuals engaged in fire
suppression, fire fighting, or fire rescue shall complete training as
part of their continuing education requirements at least every thirty
six months.

Section 2. Amends the public health law by adding a new section 3054
in relation to the training of emergency responders with respect to
persons with disabilities.

Subsection (1). Provides that the Director of the New York State
Health Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services in
consultation with the Commissioner of the Office of People with
Developmental Disabilities along with disability advocacy groups
shall adapt training Programs in accordance with (1) (a) above within
eighteen months.

Subsection (2). Requires training pursuant to 209-ff (1) (a) above
prior to certification of every advanced emergency medical
technician, emergency medical technician or first responder by the
Health Department. Subsection (3). Requires training that is
substantially similar to the training mandated under 209-ff (1) (a)
above prior to recertification of every advanced emergency medical
technician, emergency medical technician or first responder by the
Health Department. This section also provides that no advanced
emergency medical technician, emergency medical technician or first
responder shall be exempt from this requirement fox and reason,
certification or test score,

Section 3. Sets forth the effective date.

Individuals with developmental disabilities comprise about 1.5% of the
entire population of the United States and they rely on first
responders (police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians)
in emergency situations. in fact, an individual with a developmental
disability is approximately seven times more likely to come into
contact with a first responder. Without proper training for first
responders, the emergency needs of these individuals may not be
properly served, and an emergency situation can escalate leading to
an unnecessary fear, injury or even death. Standard protocols cannot
always be used because of communication and comprehension barriers,
differences in danger perception or sensitivity to pain and physical

When emergency situations arise, it is essential that first responders
have the appropriate skill set so that persons with developmental
disabilities will receive proper assistance. Therefore, specialized
training is necessary to ensure New York's first responders are
capable of identifying individuals with developmental disabilities
and communicating in an appropriate and effective manner in response
to the particular emergency situation, This legislation will ensure
New York's first responders receive that training by adding to
existing training and re-certification requirements.

2011-12: S.3417 - Died in Local Gov't


This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it
shall have become a law.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K


                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 10, 2011

Introduced  by  Sens.  OPPENHEIMER,  SERRANO  --  read twice and ordered
  printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environ-
  mental Conservation

AN ACT establishing the  New  York  state  environmental  sustainability
  education act


  Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the  "New  York
State Environmental Sustainability Education Act".
  S 2. Legislative findings. The legislature finds and declares that:
  1.  In  recognition  of  the  United  Nations  Decade of Education for
Sustainable Development (2005-2014), as  declared  at  the  Johannesburg
Summit of 2002, New York state deems it imperative to develop and imple-
ment  an  educational  program  geared towards improving the capacity of
people to address environmental issues in the 21st century.
  2. Our ability to fulfill our responsibility to equip New York's citi-
zens with the required knowledge, skills, attitudes and values needed to
create a sustainable future and enhance our quality of life  have  never
been more critical.
  3.  More  than  any  other time in recent history, New York's citizens
have the capacity to dramatically affect their natural environment,  and
mitigate  and  possibly  reverse  our  society's  negative impact on our
natural surroundings.
  4. New technologies and research have  availed  unparalleled  opportu-
nities  for us to develop and protect resources in a manner that enables
people to meet current needs, while also providing  that  future  gener-
ations can meet future needs.
  5. To successfully confront these environmental concerns and sensitiv-
ities,  we  must  put  forth a vision of education that seeks to empower
people of all ages to assume responsibility for creating  a  sustainable

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.

S. 1571                             2

  S  3.  Definitions.  For the purposes of this act, the following words
shall have the following meanings:
  1. "Sustainability" shall mean development that meets the needs of the
present  without  compromising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs. Development that occurs  in  such  a  way  ensures  the
capacity of the natural environment to meet present and future needs.
  2.    "Education  for sustainability" (EFS) means to promote an under-
standing of the interconnectedness of environment, economy and  society.
EFS  links  this  understanding with inquiry and action to help students
build a healthy future for their communities and  for  the  planet.  EFS
fosters  the  ability to integrate scientific, economic and social know-
ledge and makes education more pertinent to the changing world by moving
beyond institutional boundaries of the  disciplines  and  their  content
bias.  EFS  helps  students identify their role in local communities and
suggests ways to get involved. EFS shall consist of  educational  activ-
ities   and  training  activities  involving  elementary  and  secondary
students (K-12), as such terms are defined in the education law  and  by
environmental education personnel.
  S 4. Legislative directives and programs.
  1. The department of education is hereby required to establish a model
program  to  guide  the  development, implementation and evaluation of a
comprehensive environmental sustainability education program to be  made
available to public schools, and assist them in developing curricula and
training  staff  to adequately prepare students to participate as active
and involved citizens in building a sustainable future.
  2. The program shall be developed by the department of  education,  in
conjunction  with  the  department  of  environmental  conservation, and
modeled to promote and enhance  an  understanding  of  the  concepts  of
sustainability  and improve understanding of the natural and built envi-
ronment, and the  relationships  between  humans  and  the  environment,
including local and global aspects of environmental problems.
  3.  The  education  for sustainability program shall be constructed in
line with the following principles:
  a. A program that fosters clear awareness of, and concern for, econom-
ic, social, political and ecological interdependence in all  regions  of
New York, the United States and the world.
  b.  One  that endorses an approach to teaching and learning that inte-
grates the goals and benefits of conservation, social justice, renewable
energy, cultural diversity and sustainable development into a vision for
social improvement.
  c. One that ensures that students appreciate and respect the intrinsic
value of the whole environment, and develop an ethic of personal respon-
sibility and stewardship towards all aspects of the environment.
  d. One that encourages students to participate as active and  involved
citizens in building a sustainable future.
  e.  One  that fosters appropriate applications of technology that help
solve, not create, problems.
  4. The sustainability education program  shall  include,  but  not  be
limited to, the following specific features:
  a.  The  program  shall be designed and tailored appropriately to suit
all age groups covered by the K-12 state curriculum and  the  department
shall design lesson plans and teaching strategies that are age appropri-
ate.   The department of education shall reserve the right to include or
omit certain specified program requirements (listed below in this subdi-
vision) when tailoring the principles of sustainability to be taught  at

S. 1571                             3

each  grade level, depending on the suitability of the lesson's instruc-
tion at each grade interval.
  b.  The program shall specifically enumerate the key topic/issue areas
to be studied, and shall integrate environmental education for sustaina-
bility issues and  topics  into  specific  key  learning  areas/subjects
located  within  the broader curriculum framework such as creative arts,
English, health  and  physical  education,  languages,  mathematics  and
economics,  science and geography, history and studies of society, envi-
ronment and  technology.  The  principles  of  sustainability  shall  be
presented and integrated wherever appropriate.
  c.  The  program  shall  promote education for sustainable development
'perspectives' across learning areas to include cross-curricular  units,
complementary   teaching  across  several  subjects,  special  projects,
performances, excursions, and visiting experts.  The  program  may  also
provide  for  collaborative  projects  with  other  schools (locally and
globally) to promote equity, inclusivity, and respect for all people.
  d. The program shall raise awareness of the  nature  and  function  of
ecological,  social,  economic  and  political  systems and how they are
interrelated in addressing environmental and sustainability issues.
  e. The program shall underscore  the  impact  that  people,  business,
industry  and  government  have  on environments and how the environment
shapes  human  activities,  with  particular  reference  to  unique  and
distinctive  New York heritage traditions and settings, connecting past,
present, and future perspectives and/or impacts.
  f. The program shall emphasize the role of cultural, socioeconomic and
political systems in environmental decision-making.
  g. The program shall reinforce the value  of  innovative  technologies
with  the  aim  to  produce  places, products and services in a way that
reduces use of non-renewable resources, minimizes environmental  impact,
relates  people with the natural environment, and conveys the importance
of creating and maintaining a sustainable lifestyle.
  h. The program shall  include  assessment  strategies  that  emphasize
problem-solving,  teamwork, decision-making, holistic thinking, clarify-
ing and analyzing values and opportunities for action, in order to gauge
and improve the effectiveness and relevance of the program.
  S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.


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