Disability Rights

241 petitions

Update posted 4 hours ago

Petition to Andrew Cuomo, New York State House, New York State Senate, Sue Serino, Didi Barrett, Carl Heastie, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Aileen Gunther, Angelo Santabarbara, Latoya Joyner, James Skoufis

Bailey’s Law now! Hold criminals accountable for victimizing the developmentally disabled!

 Please Support the Passage of #BaileysLaw We cannot allow criminals to get away with the death of their victims. My 19 year old autistic son, Bailey, committed suicide on 7-31-17, my birthday of all days. After nearly 20 years of complete family devotion and cultivating our lives in support, contemplation and preparation of his each new life phase, new stage, new challenge, and new triumph our lives were completely and irrevocably upended in the span of 8 minutes. Bailey had many friends. He was kind, funny, caring, generous, gentle, down to earth, and creative. He was an artist, a lover of history, and had compassion for all living things. He was a teacher his whole life as much as he was a student of it. Bailey made me stronger, made me determined, made me timely, made me adjustable, made me more understanding...and it was Bailey that made me an advocate for kids with special needs for all these years. Of course, his 3 siblings also helped make me, and him, over the years...we all made each other. Our family has always been very tight. Being a single mom the last 16 years enabled me to make my children my world, and show them we are a team. I’ve tried to give them everything I am and everything I have within me, with intention. But despite everything I’d, we’d, put in over the years my son, their brother, is gone...less then 8 minutes after leaving my side. Bailey resorted to suicide 7 days after being a victim of a financial crime, 4 days after I realized he was victimized, and less than 5 hours of being asked to ID one of the perpetrators. He was preyed upon, betrayed, and taken advantage of by a girl he knew for years and had recently befriended him. This girl connected her male friend to my son under the guise of helping them cash a check. From what I’ve been told by State Police, Bailey was hesitant to help them, unsure of whether or not the request was legitimate, and she assured my son that the request was fine and then promised him, I believe, $200 from the proceeds for his assistance. I suspect Bailey provided them with his bank card and his PIN number. On 7-24-17 the male deposited a $1675.00 fraudulent check at an atm in Highland, NY and then immediately withdrew $200 (the amount fronted with a check hold); this was caught on atm bank video. I realized there was a problem on Thursday the 27th when I noted on our joint account both the deposit and withdrawal as well as the $200 withdrawal ultimately being pulled from my separate account. Bailey was learning banking and I would transfer his disability money to the joint account so he would learn about money management, budgeting, grocery shopping, etc. Bailey was devastated over the loss. We connected with local police on the 27th, who then directed us to the nearest state troopers on the 28th, who in turn directed us to State Troopers in Highland on 7-29-17 where we filed a complaint. Later on that Saturday, my youngest son told me he overheard his brother Bailey on the phone after hearing of the banking problem on Thursday, extremely upset over the financial loss and insisting on the return of funds. On Monday, 7-31-17 the investigator came to our house at 12:30 to see if Bailey could ID the male in the bank video. Bailey claimed he did not know the person and by his reaction I believe he didn’t. At 5:16pm he left our home stating he was going for a walk to draw; this was not unlike him as his executive processing speed is slower than many and he’d use walks or drawing to manage stresses. By 5:30 I heard the emergency response sirens and ran down our street, because I never wanted my kids around the chaos when EMS was in the area, and of course I wanted to count the safety of my chicks. The area they were responding to is a nuisance area that has had more than it’s fair share of fires....but there was no fire truck, only medical response. My son had hung himself in the woods less than a block from our home. The next day I was presented with a note he’d written; he clearly believed he’d done something very wrong in trusting the wrong person. No law enforcement involved in this case believes that Bailey had the faculty to understand what was happening, or the complexities that he was a victim, and neither does any of his family nor his longstanding therapist. There is no doubt in my mind that he merely thought he was helping someone. Both accused, at this point, will only be charged minimally; one with grand larceny 4th and the other with Endangering a disabled person 1st, both class E non violent felonies. Theoretically they could each get probation. They have each since been arrested for other crimes; her on drug charges in October 2017 and him for killing a 16 year old with his car after an argument in Yonkers in December 2017. The male is being held without bail in Westchester and has yet to be charged for our case. The female was arrested and arraigned for this case but was granted release on $2000 cash/$4000 bond. I am sickened over what may be obvious to you at this point, that the charges do not reflect their role in the death of my son. People with disabilities, including autism, are among our most vulnerable community members. It seems so unjust that a charge of endangering specifically relates to affecting the mental well-being of a vulnerable person yet they are not charged with the actual consequences of this criminal action. I’m currently working with our local representatives to start the process of pushing for new legislation in the state to hold perpetrators fully accountable for the consequences of their actions. The law for Endangering in NY currently states: “Under our law, a person is guilty of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree when he or she knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease or defect. The term "knowingly” has its own special meaning in our law. I will now give you the meaning of that term. A person KNOWINGLY acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease or defect when that person is aware that he or she is acting in such manner. Actual harm to the incompetent or physically disabled person need not result.” Currently under our criminal laws culpability for a persons suicide rests on the aspect of “aiding and abetting”, or, in practical terms, specifically aiding, directing or encouraging the suicide. This MUST change. Those that would intentionally cultivate an environment and/or circumstances specifically to use people with disabilities to commit a crime, need to be held accountable for the full range of actual damages they cause, including the death of their victim. We need #BaileysLaw to firmly establish... If a defendant is charged with endangering in the first degree, or another crime related and/or connected to a charge of endangering in the first degree (as in coconspirators/codefendant), whereby the events result in the victim’s suicide within reasonable proximity of the crime, defendants should be criminally charged for the victim’s death. This area of law, as it specifically relates to endangering, also needs to be updated to incorporate the disability standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Social Security Administration in trials. As it stands, the question of a successful trial seems tied to whether or not the victim has an IQ over 40, and can dress and feed oneself. This is an extremely low threshold for a successful trial against a perpetrator charged with endangering and is not in line with current state and federal laws to protect the disabled. There are an enormous number of people with autism, and other disabilities, who have a high IQ and can feed and clothe themselves but cannot fully meet their own needs in a manner that could be characterized as independent living. Bailey’s Law should protect anyone that can be considered a vulnerable person by including the state and federal standards of disability.   I urge you to support Bailey’s Law. It will not help my family but it will help many others. PLEASE, sign this petition to help me get it passed!  To view or VOTE YES on the #BaileysLaw bill (NY S.8541) you can visit  - there is a link at this location for the identical Assembly version as well. To learn more about my beloved Bailey you can visit the guestbook at To follow our journey, visit & Sincerely, Gae Marie Cannon, Poughkeepsie, NY *6-17-18 Update: Our bill for Bailey’s Law passed in the NY Senate on 6-11-18 with a vote of 44/17. The bill is now in the NY Assembly (A.10874) and I’m pushing to have it passed before the end of the legislative session on 6-20-18.  The Ulster County Court has declined to take on the female’s case (the facilitator of this crime), and referred it back to the Town Court. This means that HER CHARGES WILL BE REDUCED from felony to misdemeanor or less- because Town Courts CANNOT process felonies. It is looking more and more like she will get 3 years of probation... To put this into context- a DWI, WITHOUT LOSS OF LIFE, can result in 3 years probation, over $1000 fine and revocation of drivers license...  I am disgusted.... these people KNEW they were committing a crime. KNEW they were targeting someone with a disability, and their actions resulted in the DEATH of their victim......  Please, please share our petition... This is just not right..  Targeting our vulnerable loved ones breaks a sacred social contract in our society and we must prevent this from happening to someone else...  7-3-18 Update:  In all candor I’ve been struggling since the bill got stuck in the Codes Committee and did not make it to the NY Assembly floor for vote. Add to this grieving, coming up on the 1 year anniversary of Bailey’s death, getting through his siblings birthdays, and getting a denial for therapy reimbursement from NY Office of Victim Services because, as they put it in their letter, “the victim contributed to his death”- absolutely no acknowledgment of the crime that precipitated and caused his death.... And I’m in the middle of writing a crime victim impact statement for the Teator case, whereby her charges will be reduced... I’m furious, disgusted and feel victimized by our so-called justice system... I’m in a valley of heartbreak and trying to get through all these things... I cry a lot... But my push for Bailey’s Law is not over.... The petition is still growing- we are currently over 12,000 signatures with our paper petition and I’ve started going door to door seeking more- in addition to scheduling events to educate the public about the abuse of people with developmental disabilities to garner more signature support.... I plan to build upon the coalition of support we’ve started so that we have the numbers to push this bill through in January 2019. What you can do to help:1. SHARE the petition and Bailey’s story, in person and online2. Go to our website and print free flyers for local venues and local bulletin boards in your town, and deliver them to all the neighbors on your street 3. Call agencies that support the disabled and/or elderly and ask them to join our coalition of support. You can give them the website address as a contact. 4. Stay informed. The blood and guts of this journey is on our Facebook page Dear Bailey. Thank you so much for your support, your caring messages (yes, I read them all), and I hope you’ll stay with me through this process of fixing the law. With gratitude, Gae Marie 

A Mourning Mom *
13,212 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to A.I.M. Mutual Insurance / Berkshire Medical Center

Fair Medical and Insurance treatment for a injured husband and father.

Hi my name is Travis M. Dozier Sr. I am a injured local 108 union Carpenter. On 7/20/2015 I was working on a job repairing one of our country's road ways when I injured my neck and spine. Since that day these injuries have progressed and caused me a great deal of pain and suffering amongst other health issues such as a pulmonary embolism on 9/27/17. The reason for this petition is for everyone to see what I have been put through and to help me get some needed help on the matter. I was getting treated by a medical team at Berkshire medical center in Pittsfield, MA and after a few negative interventions I was forced to find a more professional medical facility else where. 1) they stated there is nothing wrong it's in your head for almost 2 years while my injuries were getting worst beyond repair and giving me opioids for pain . 2) on 9/27/17 I go for follow up with Dr. Anaral Bansal while having chest pains and a hard time breathing while he is examing me i express my concerns over these issues. Dr. Anaral Bansal states you are fine don't worry about it go home. I go to the Emergency instead there they state I am having a (pulmonary embolism) the Emergency department doctor states if I would have went home on Dr. Bansal instructions I would have died. So now I am forced to drive almost 2 hours away for great medical care. With Berkshire medical center taking so long to give proper treatment to my neck and spine and  A.I.M. mutual insurance giving such a problem to get me the proper procedure that is needed for my treatment the neurosurgeon states that I am looking at paralysis because now there is compression on the spine. All I ask is for people to stand up and say do what is right. My life is changed forever by this accident, a great Father of 4 torn.

2,728 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Lance Robertson, Mary Lazare

Calling for the resignation of Mary Lazare, ACL's Principal Deputy Administrator

U.S. Department of HHS' Administration for Community Living (ACL) Principal Deputy Administrator Mary Lazare was reported by Disability Scoop to have made several comments about "segregation" and "reinstitutionalization" of people with disabilities on July 11, 2018. Lazare went onto social media site Twitter later that day, rather than giving a formal statement, and apologized for her statements. Lazare reportedly expressed these assertions at both an Autism Society conference in Bethesda, Maryland, and again at another conference in Oxford Hill, Maryland, for the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities. Lazare's tweet, which was posted on the ACL's public account, read: "Mary Lazare: I regret & apologize for my words at #ASAconf18. ACL believes ppl w/disabilities have the right & choice to live in the community. We work to expand those opptys & are 100% committed to that mission. We also recognize Olmstead gives people the right to other choices." Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS), Jim Langevin (D-RI), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) addressed these comments in a letter to Lance Robertson, Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging and ACL's Administrator. Due to Lazare's comment mentioning Olmstead as a choice rather than a right in her Twitter post, these representatives are concerned about Lazare's understanding of the Olmstead decision, as well as her understanding of community-based care as a whole. Additionally, in February 2018, President Donald Trump made comments about “nabbing” people with mental illnesses who have committed no crime but who seem suspicious. See article from Politico. Lazare was appointed to her post at the Administration for Community Living by President Donald Trump in June 2017. The disability rights movement has been growing at an especially increased speed in the new millennium. It is concerning to anyone within the disability community to hear that a person who should be representing and protecting us is making such remarks. Considering Lazare's professional history, we should expect better.  We can do better. We are requesting that Mary Lazare resign from her post, as it is the ethical and moral thing to do in light of her comments. Independent living is important to people with disabilities as well as aging seniors, and we need someone who's got our back. Discriminationatory comments in any form should not be tolerated by HHS. It is important that we send a message about this type of ableist rhetoric and demand respect in all areas of our lives.In lieu of resignation, we are requesting a formal apology from Mary Lazare.UPDATE 8/3/2018: Comments by Lance Robertson, Administrator of ACL, were reported by Disability Scoop. Click here for the article as well as my comments.  Nothing About Us, Without Us Original story on Disability Scoop Please note that this petition does not infer that Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), or Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) have endorsed the idea of Ms. Lazare's resignation. This is an independently-led petition by people of the disability community.

Maggie M.
195 supporters