Organizations representing New Yorkers with developmental, intellectual and physical disabilities, including those who are blind, today sent the attached letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul urging her to sign S.7578C/A.8549C, also known as the Preferred Source Modernization Bill.

The bill unanimously passed the Senate and Assembly at the end of session and would make the first significant updates in New York’s Preferred Source Program since its inception in 1975. The program was created in the aftermath of the Willowbrook scandal that exposed New York’s poor treatment of persons with disabilities.

The Preferred Source Modernization Bill:

  • Modernizes multiple terms within the Preferred Source statute including references to “workshops” and “severely” disabled.
  • Simplifies the process for approving Preferred Source contracts to make it closer to other diversity and inclusion contracting initiatives. Right now, the OGS review threshold is $50,000, a level set 14 years ago. The Rockefeller Institute recommended it be raised to $250,000. The bill raises it to $100,000.
  • Expands employment opportunities for people with disabilities by establishing that the disabled ratio required on a given contract be performed by people with disabilities from 75 percent to 50 percent. This recognizes the fact that much of the employment now takes place in community-based settings with competitive wages where persons with disabilities work side by side with people without disabilities.