senate Bill S850

Amended

Directs public service commission to require telephone corporations to provide free directory information or assistance to certain eligible disabled persons

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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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actions

  • 09 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
  • 29 / Jan / 2014
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
  • 29 / Jan / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 850A

Summary

Directs the public service commission to require all telephone corporations to provide free directory information or assistance to blind persons meeting specified visual acuity standards and also to certain other physically handicapped persons who are certified as meeting certain specified criteria; requires that the public service commission establish procedures by which free access to directory information and assistance is automatically registered as exempt from all charges; makes related provisions.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S850
S850A
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Energy And Telecommunications
Law Section:
Public Service Law
Laws Affected:
Add §92-g, Pub Serv L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S3529
2009-2010: S3938

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S850

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the public service law, in relation to mandating directory
information or assistance for certain eligible persons at no cost to
such persons

PURPOSE:
Requires that all telephone corporations provide directory information
or assistance to eligible persons at no cost to such persons. The
eligibility criteria used is that which the Library of Congress has
approved for federal services relating to visually impaired
individuals. This legislation also requires that the Public Service
Commission establish procedures by which free access to this
information and assistance is automatically registered, so those who
qualify as being exempt from all charges do not have these charges
listed on their bill.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Adds a new §92-g to the Public Service Law that
requires telephone
corporations to provide information and assistance to eligible
persons at no cost. The following persons are eligible to receive
this service:
(1) Blind persons whose visual acuity, as determined by competent
authority, is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting
lenses, or whose widest diameter of visual field subtends angular
distance no greater than 20 degrees; (2) Other physically handicapped
persons are eligible as follows: (A) persons whose visual disability,
with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified
by competent authority as preventing the reading of standard printed
material;
(B) persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or
unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical
limitations;
(C) persons certified by competent authority as having a reading
disability resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient
severity to prevent their reading printed material in a normal
manner. Also ensures that this service be automatically registered in
order to keep these charges from appearing on such person's bill.

Section 2: This act shall take effect on the 120th day after it
shall have become law.

JUSTIFICATION:
Those who are legally blind or substantially visually impaired must
use directory assistance to locate phone numbers. This legislation
mandates that qualified persons receive this service at no cost. New
York Telephone currently allows for legally blind persons to receive
directory assistance and information free of charge. However, there
have been instances where those persons entitled to securing free
services have received their monthly phone bills only to discover
that they have been billed for such services. This can create
problems, especially for those
who are currently eligible, as they must call the phone company each


month to have these charges removed from their bill. This legislation
mandates that these persons be automatically registered, so the
charges for directory information and assistance will not appear on
each month's bill.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2011-12: S.3529 - Died in Energy and Telecom
03/07/07 REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
01/09/08 REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
04/07/09 REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
01/06/10 REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it
shall have become a law except that any rules and regulations
necessary for the timely implementation of this act on its effective
date shall be promulgated on or before such date.

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

                                   850

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on  Energy  and  Telecommuni-
  cations

AN  ACT to amend the public service law, in relation to mandating direc-
  tory information or assistance for certain eligible persons at no cost
  to such persons

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  The public service law is amended by adding a new section
92-g to read as follows:
  S 92-G. DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE FOR ELIGIBLE PERSONS. 1.  THE  COMMISSION
SHALL  REQUIRE  ALL TELEPHONE CORPORATIONS TO PROVIDE DIRECTORY INFORMA-
TION OR ASSISTANCE TO ELIGIBLE PERSONS, AS PROVIDED IN  SUBDIVISION  TWO
OF  THIS  SECTION,  AT  NO  COST TO SUCH PERSONS.   THE COMMISSION SHALL
ESTABLISH PROCEDURES BY WHICH FREE ACCESS TO SUCH INFORMATION OR ASSIST-
ANCE FOR SUCH PERSONS IS AUTOMATICALLY REGISTERED  AS  EXEMPT  FROM  ALL
CHARGES.
  2.  THE  FOLLOWING  PERSONS  ARE ELIGIBLE FOR SERVICE PURSUANT TO THIS
SECTION:
  (A) BLIND PERSONS WHOSE VISUAL  ACUITY,  AS  DETERMINED  BY  COMPETENT
AUTHORITY,  IS  20/200 OR LESS IN THE BETTER EYE WITH CORRECTING LENSES,
OR WHOSE WIDEST DIAMETER OF VISUAL FIELD SUBTENDS  ANGULAR  DISTANCE  NO
GREATER THAN TWENTY DEGREES.
  (B) OTHER PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED PERSONS ARE ELIGIBLE AS FOLLOWS:
  (I) PERSONS WHOSE VISUAL DISABILITY, WITH CORRECTION AND REGARDLESS OF
OPTICAL  MEASUREMENT,  IS CERTIFIED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY AS PREVENTING
THE READING OF STANDARD PRINTED MATERIAL.
  (II) PERSONS CERTIFIED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY AS  UNABLE  TO  READ  OR
UNABLE  TO USE STANDARD PRINTED MATERIAL AS A RESULT OF PHYSICAL LIMITA-
TIONS.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02865-01-3

S. 850                              2

  (III) PERSONS CERTIFIED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY  AS  HAVING  A  READING
DISABILITY RESULTING FROM ORGANIC DYSFUNCTION AND OF SUFFICIENT SEVERITY
TO PREVENT THEIR READING OF PRINTED MATERIAL IN A NORMAL MANNER.
  (C) CERTIFYING AUTHORITY:
  (I) IN CASES OF BLINDNESS, VISUAL IMPAIRMENT, OR PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS,
"COMPETENT AUTHORITY" IS DEFINED TO INCLUDE DOCTORS OF MEDICINE; DOCTORS
OF OSTEOPATHY; OPHTHALMOLOGISTS; OPTOMETRISTS; REGISTERED NURSES; THERA-
PISTS;  AND PROFESSIONAL STAFF OF HOSPITALS, INSTITUTIONS, AND PUBLIC OR
PRIVATE WELFARE AGENCIES (E.G., SOCIAL WORKERS, CASEWORKERS, COUNSELORS,
REHABILITATION TEACHERS, AND SUPERINTENDENTS).
  (II) IN THE CASE  OF  READING  DISABILITY  FROM  ORGANIC  DYSFUNCTION,
COMPETENT  AUTHORITY  IS  DEFINED  AS DOCTORS OF MEDICINE AND DOCTORS OF
OSTEOPATHY WHO MAY CONSULT WITH COLLEAGUES IN ASSOCIATED DISCIPLINES.
  S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after
it shall have become a law. Any rules and regulations necessary for  the
timely implementation of this act on its effective date shall be promul-
gated on or before such date.

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