Bill S1571-2011

Establishes the environmental sustainability education act

Requires the department of education to establish an education for environmental sustainability program to teach children the importance of conserving and protecting our environment.






TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general municipal law and the public health law, in relation to the training of police officers and firefighters

PURPOSE: This bill amends the general municipal law and the public health law, in relation to the training of police officers, firefighters and emergency responders with respect to persons with disabilities; the training is designed to further educate first responders on the appropriate recognition and response techniques for handling emergency situations involving persons with disabilities.


Section 1. Amends the general municipal law by adding a new section 209-ff to require training for police officers and firefighters with respect to persons with disabilities.

Sub-section (1) (a). Provides that the Commissioner of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services in consultation with the Commissioner of the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities along with disability advocacy groups shall review the training course entitled "persons with Disabilities" under the "Basic Course" to make necessary modifications to include additional information on developmental disabilities and hearing impairments. Further, that the training course be administered by the Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, created under article forty-five of the mental hygiene law, as part of the in-service training provided to police officers.

Subsection (1) (b). Provides that every local police officer shall complete the above-mentioned training course and that every police officer appointed prior to the effective date of this law shall complete the course within thirty-six months.

Subsection (2) (a). Provides that the State Fire Administrator of the Office of Fire Prevention and Control in consultation with the Commissioner of the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities along with disability advocacy groups shall adapt training programs in accordance with (1) (a) above within sixteen months.

Subsection (2) (b), Provides that all individuals engaged in fire suppression, fire fighting, or fire rescue shall complete training as part of their continuing education requirements at least every thirty six months.

Section 2. Amends the public health law by adding a new section 3054 in relation to the training of emergency responders with respect to persons with disabilities.

Subsection (1). Provides that the Director of the New York State Health Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services in consultation with the Commissioner of the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities along with disability advocacy groups shall adapt training Programs in accordance with (1) (a) above within eighteen months.

Subsection (2). Requires training pursuant to 209-ff (1) (a) above prior to certification of every advanced emergency medical technician, emergency medical technician or first responder by the Health Department. Subsection (3). Requires training that is substantially similar to the training mandated under 209-ff (1) (a) above prior to recertification of every advanced emergency medical technician, emergency medical technician or first responder by the Health Department. This section also provides that no advanced emergency medical technician, emergency medical technician or first responder shall be exempt from this requirement fox and reason, certification or test score,

Section 3. Sets forth the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: Individuals with developmental disabilities comprise about 1.5% of the entire population of the United States and they rely on first responders (police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians) in emergency situations. in fact, an individual with a developmental disability is approximately seven times more likely to come into contact with a first responder. Without proper training for first responders, the emergency needs of these individuals may not be properly served, and an emergency situation can escalate leading to an unnecessary fear, injury or even death. Standard protocols cannot always be used because of communication and comprehension barriers, differences in danger perception or sensitivity to pain and physical contact.

When emergency situations arise, it is essential that first responders have the appropriate skill set so that persons with developmental disabilities will receive proper assistance. Therefore, specialized training is necessary to ensure New York's first responders are capable of identifying individuals with developmental disabilities and communicating in an appropriate and effective manner in response to the particular emergency situation, This legislation will ensure New York's first responders receive that training by adding to existing training and re-certification requirements.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011-12: S.3417 - Died in Local Gov't


EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.


STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1571 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 10, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sens. OPPENHEIMER, SERRANO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environ- mental Conservation AN ACT establishing the New York state environmental sustainability education act THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "New York State Environmental Sustainability Education Act". S 2. Legislative findings. The legislature finds and declares that: 1. In recognition of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), as declared at the Johannesburg Summit of 2002, New York state deems it imperative to develop and imple- ment an educational program geared towards improving the capacity of people to address environmental issues in the 21st century. 2. Our ability to fulfill our responsibility to equip New York's citi- zens with the required knowledge, skills, attitudes and values needed to create a sustainable future and enhance our quality of life have never been more critical. 3. More than any other time in recent history, New York's citizens have the capacity to dramatically affect their natural environment, and mitigate and possibly reverse our society's negative impact on our natural surroundings. 4. New technologies and research have availed unparalleled opportu- nities for us to develop and protect resources in a manner that enables people to meet current needs, while also providing that future gener- ations can meet future needs. 5. To successfully confront these environmental concerns and sensitiv- ities, we must put forth a vision of education that seeks to empower people of all ages to assume responsibility for creating a sustainable future.
S 3. Definitions. For the purposes of this act, the following words shall have the following meanings: 1. "Sustainability" shall mean development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Development that occurs in such a way ensures the capacity of the natural environment to meet present and future needs. 2. "Education for sustainability" (EFS) means to promote an under- standing of the interconnectedness of environment, economy and society. EFS links this understanding with inquiry and action to help students build a healthy future for their communities and for the planet. EFS fosters the ability to integrate scientific, economic and social know- ledge and makes education more pertinent to the changing world by moving beyond institutional boundaries of the disciplines and their content bias. EFS helps students identify their role in local communities and suggests ways to get involved. EFS shall consist of educational activ- ities and training activities involving elementary and secondary students (K-12), as such terms are defined in the education law and by environmental education personnel. S 4. Legislative directives and programs. 1. The department of education is hereby required to establish a model program to guide the development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive environmental sustainability education program to be made available to public schools, and assist them in developing curricula and training staff to adequately prepare students to participate as active and involved citizens in building a sustainable future. 2. The program shall be developed by the department of education, in conjunction with the department of environmental conservation, and modeled to promote and enhance an understanding of the concepts of sustainability and improve understanding of the natural and built envi- ronment, and the relationships between humans and the environment, including local and global aspects of environmental problems. 3. The education for sustainability program shall be constructed in line with the following principles: a. A program that fosters clear awareness of, and concern for, econom- ic, social, political and ecological interdependence in all regions of New York, the United States and the world. b. One that endorses an approach to teaching and learning that inte- grates the goals and benefits of conservation, social justice, renewable energy, cultural diversity and sustainable development into a vision for social improvement. c. One that ensures that students appreciate and respect the intrinsic value of the whole environment, and develop an ethic of personal respon- sibility and stewardship towards all aspects of the environment. d. One that encourages students to participate as active and involved citizens in building a sustainable future. e. One that fosters appropriate applications of technology that help solve, not create, problems. 4. The sustainability education program shall include, but not be limited to, the following specific features: a. The program shall be designed and tailored appropriately to suit all age groups covered by the K-12 state curriculum and the department shall design lesson plans and teaching strategies that are age appropri- ate. The department of education shall reserve the right to include or omit certain specified program requirements (listed below in this subdi- vision) when tailoring the principles of sustainability to be taught at
each grade level, depending on the suitability of the lesson's instruc- tion at each grade interval. b. The program shall specifically enumerate the key topic/issue areas to be studied, and shall integrate environmental education for sustaina- bility issues and topics into specific key learning areas/subjects located within the broader curriculum framework such as creative arts, English, health and physical education, languages, mathematics and economics, science and geography, history and studies of society, envi- ronment and technology. The principles of sustainability shall be presented and integrated wherever appropriate. c. The program shall promote education for sustainable development 'perspectives' across learning areas to include cross-curricular units, complementary teaching across several subjects, special projects, performances, excursions, and visiting experts. The program may also provide for collaborative projects with other schools (locally and globally) to promote equity, inclusivity, and respect for all people. d. The program shall raise awareness of the nature and function of ecological, social, economic and political systems and how they are interrelated in addressing environmental and sustainability issues. e. The program shall underscore the impact that people, business, industry and government have on environments and how the environment shapes human activities, with particular reference to unique and distinctive New York heritage traditions and settings, connecting past, present, and future perspectives and/or impacts. f. The program shall emphasize the role of cultural, socioeconomic and political systems in environmental decision-making. g. The program shall reinforce the value of innovative technologies with the aim to produce places, products and services in a way that reduces use of non-renewable resources, minimizes environmental impact, relates people with the natural environment, and conveys the importance of creating and maintaining a sustainable lifestyle. h. The program shall include assessment strategies that emphasize problem-solving, teamwork, decision-making, holistic thinking, clarify- ing and analyzing values and opportunities for action, in order to gauge and improve the effectiveness and relevance of the program. S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.


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