Advocacy Newsbriefs – January 2018

Region Advocacy Events

On March 3, 2018, Nassau Region PTA will host a half day Legislative Conference, LEGCON2018, at Carlyle on the Green, 99 Quaker Meeting House Road, Farmingdale.  The program is from 9:00AM to 1:00PM, with doors opening at 8:30AM.  The registration fee is $36.00 per person and you must register to attend!  Find out more at

All unit and council presidents, legislation chairs, PTA members, superintendents, administrators, school board members, and teachers are encouraged to join us for a unique opportunity to put advocacy into action. Enjoy a half day of advocacy events, which include a full buffet breakfast, legislation/education panel discussion and a fireside chat on education policy.  Panel participants include NYS Senators, NYS Assembly Members, NSSBA, LIEC, NYSCOSS, REFIT and NYS PTA.  Fireside Chat panelists include Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, NYS and PTA leaders, and will be moderated by Dr. Bruce Torff, Hofstra University.  For more information, email


Patient Brokering: Governor Cuomo launched a campaign to warn New Yorkers about fraudulent addiction treatment referral services. “Patient Brokering” is a practice where brokers collect payments from addiction treatment providers in exchange for referring patients to those programs. The governor states, “vulnerable New Yorkers struggling with addiction are being targeted and falsely promised life-saving treatment services and then are given inadequate and ineffective treatment at outrageous costs.” This new campaign warns New Yorkers about the fraudulent practice and urges that these brokers be reported. Read more HERE.

New Funding for Behavioral Health Services: Governor Cuomo has announced New York will issue $60 million in awards over three years to mental health and addiction services providers as part of the transformation of the state’s Medicaid system. The governor states “This funding will help ensure New Yorkers in need receive access to vital mental health services, while continuing our work to make Medicaid both more effective and more affordable. This is one more step towards a stronger, healthier New York for all.” Read more HERE.

Paid Family Leave: New York State’s Paid Family Leave started January 1, 2018. This new policy provides New Yorkers with job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition, or help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service abroad. Read more HERE.

Influenza outbreak: The governor has announced a drastic rise of Influenza in New York State. Governor Cuomo has called on all New Yorkers six months of age and over who have not yet received a flu shot to get vaccinated as soon as possible. According to the Department of Health, influenza cases rose by 54 percent and new cases were diagnosed in all counties of the state over the past week. Read more HERE.

Special Education

Local Diploma Local Comments: Recently, the Board of Regents adopted regulations to update the options for students with disabilities to graduate high school with a local diploma. These amendments will be in effect for students seeking to graduate in January 2018. Public comments are being accepted through February 26, 2018. Please email comments to Additional information can be found HERE.

Click HERE for a summary chart of current local diploma requirements.

Services for children under IDEA: Each year the U.S. Department of Education submits its annual report to Congress. The report summarizes progress and focuses on children/students with disabilities who received services under IDEA.  The report can be found HERE.

Americans with Disabilities Act: At the end of December, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded 25 guidance documents regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some were outdated or were considered to have gone beyond what the law called for.  It is important to pay attention as other changes might impact students with disabilities.  For further information click HERE.

Changes to ABLE Accounts: Under the new tax law passed in December, there were several changes to how people with disabilities can use ABLE accounts. People with disabilities will be able to roll over funds from a traditional 529 college savings plan to their ABLE account. In addition, individuals with disabilities who are working will be able to save even more money in their ABLE accounts. This has led to questions of uncertainty and the need for clarification about the careful monitoring of the accounts so that benefits are protected. Current information about the new provisions can be found HERE.

February Awareness Events

Heart Month
National Children’s Dental Health Month
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month or
National Cancer Prevention Month
February 2: National Wear Red Day
February 7: National Girls and Women in Sports Day
February 7: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
February 11-16: Take Your Family to School Week
February 17: Random Acts of Kindness Day
February 26-March 4: National Eating Disorders Awareness Week