Committee Reports

Report on Legislation Regarding Guardianship and Health Care Decisions of Persons with Developmental Disabilities


The Mental Health Law Committee (Naomi Weinstein, Chair) commented on legislation pending in the State Legislature intended to update Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, Article 17-A (“SCPA 17-A”) to better reflect the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities and to address constitutional and other legal standards concerning appointment of guardians.  There have long been calls to update SCPA 17-A to reflect social and cultural changes as well as comport with constitutional requirements. The Committee, in conjunction with the Disability Law Committee, issued a report in January 2016, Revisiting S.C.P.A. 17-A: Guardianship for People with Intellectual Disabilities which addressed how, if at all, the state should provide substituted decision-making for this vulnerable population. Based on this report, the Committee urges certain modifications to the bill, including, requiring the court to find that there are no less restrictive alternatives available before the appointment of a guardian and adding a  meaningful way to terminate the guardianship and restore rights to the individual.


A.8171-A (AM Lavine)- Relates to replacing the term intellectually disabled with developmentally disabled (NYS 2017)