Proponents of a measure that would have studied the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on adult group homes in New York were disappointed after Gov. Kathy Hochul vetoed the legislation.
The bill was among the dozens of measures Hochul vetoed last week, many of which created task forces to study an array of issues.
The group home legislation would have provided recommendations to the commissioner of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities to develop ways of better serving people who live in the congregate settings, which were considered especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and struggled with recruiting and retaining staff in the early months of the public health crisis.
"Residents of group homes, who often have disabilities, deserve the right to weigh in on how they are being treated," said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. "However, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a stark failure in communication between residents and the institutions tasked with supporting them. My bill can establish a more open forum for feedback that can help target the issues most important to group home residents and their families."
In a veto message striking down several task force proposals, Hochul wrote the cost of all the bills would collectively exceed $40 million, something the state has not budgeted for at the start of the year.
Hochul's veto of the group home task force measure was packaged with vetoes creating studies for juvenile justice, an LGBTQ+ advisory board and older adult workforce development, among other proposals.
But the governor is also directing state agencies to review "ongoing efforts or future plans to address the issues described in these bills" and continue them moving forward with the existing financial resources.
Hochul earlier this year announced an outside consulting firm was hired in order to review and assess a broad range of policy decisions made by state officials at the start of the pandemic.