New York Governor Pataki and the Burden of Proof

New York Governor Pataki and the Burden of Proof

The New York State Legislature passed S.8354, legislation that placed the burden of proof in special education impartial hearings on the school district, thus maintaining the status quo in New York State for the last 30 years. The legislation was passed in response to the Schaeffer v. Weast case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court last year (see prior posts). In spite of widespread support not only from parents of children with disabilities but numerous other groups, including the teacher’s unions, the Governor last week vetoed Senate bill 8354. The veto message was full of misinformation and misrepresentations.

 

Parents, advocates and others concerned about the rights of children with disabilities to obtain special education services must contact their State Assemblymen and Senators as well as the Governor to let them know that the Governor’s veto is unacceptable.

 

EXPRESS YOUR OUTRAGE TO YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS IT IS CRITICAL NOT TO LET THE VETO OF S.8354, REGARDING THE BURDEN OF PROOF, PASS QUIETLY, AS IF NO ONE CARES.

 

TELL YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS THAT THE GOVERNOR?S VETO OF SENATE 8354 IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE.

 

TELL THEM THAT YOU EXPECT THEM TO OVERRIDE THE VETO OF SENATE 8354 WHEN THEY RETURN FOR SPECIAL SESSION IN SEPTEMBER. Let them know that the veto is unacceptable.

 

THE LEGISLATURE CAN OVERRIDE THAT VETO BY A TWO-THIRDS VOTE IN EACH HOUSE. THAT SHOULD NOT BE DIFFICULT SINCE THE BILL WAS APPROVED BY A 100% VOTE IN THE SENATE AND A 95% VOTE IN THE ASSEMBLY.

 

The failure of the Governor to sign this legislation puts the rights of children with disabilities to a free and public education in the least restrictive environment addressed to their individual needs at risk. Without this bill, the right to an appropriate public education for students with disabilities will belong only to those whose parents can pay for it by hiring expensive legal help. You can contact your New York State legislator at:

New York State Assembly

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