Legislation (S.4013/A.5305) sponsored by NYS Assemblyman Mike Miller and Senator Joe Addabbo to increase public awareness of Down Syndrome and fund research projects into the chromosomal disorder was recently approved by the full State Senate and Assembly.
“This bill authorizes the creation of distinctive Down Syndrome Awareness license plates for people in New York who want to spread the word about this condition,” Addabbo explained. “In addition, money raised from the sale of these license plates will be directed to a new Down Syndrome Research Fund. I am delighted that my Senate and Assembly colleagues recognize the importance of supporting individuals and families living with this disorder.”
“I am very pleased with bill no. A5305-B passing unanimously in the Assembly,” Miller said. “The Department of Motor Vehicles will now offer distinctive license plates for family members whose relatives have Down Syndrome. Anyone who purchases a license plate will help fund research for causes, treatment and prevention.”
Down Syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. Every year, about 6,000 children are born with Down’s, or about one in every 700 babies. It occurs in people of all races and economic levels.
Both legislators noted that the life expectancy for individuals with Down Syndrome has increased significantly over the years – from 25 in 1983 to 60 years of age today. The Assemblyman and Senator said that the initiation of the bill originated with a request of a mutual constituent.
Miller and Addabbo pointed out that many individuals born with Down’s have made strides in many different fields of endeavor. For example, Angela Bachiller, a woman with Down Syndrome, is a City Council member in Spain. Madeline Stuart, a professional Australian model, made a splash at New York Fashion Week, and is an inspiration to many with and without disabilities. Laz-D is a rapper in Oregon. American disability rights activist Karen Gaffney not only received an honorary doctorate for her efforts in raising awareness of Down Syndrome, but is well known for swimming the English Channel, Boston Harbor, Lake Tahoe, and San Francisco Bay. In addition, people with this condition are well represented and respected in the acting field, appearing on screen and stage.
“I appreciated the support of my legislative colleagues who voted to pass this proposal, which has great potential to increase awareness of Down Syndrome, add to scientific research about this condition, and highlight the many contributions that have been made, and are being made, by people born with Down’s,” Addabbo said.
Now that the legislation has been approved by both the Senate and Assembly, it will be sent to Governor Cuomo for his consideration.