Fax from Albany
September 24, 2004
Board Members, Affiliate Executive Directors, Interested Parties
Glenn D. Liebman, CEO
(518) 434-0439 ext. 20
Legislative Update: Despite the fact that a budget has been passed
and legislators are busy running for re-election, there is still a lot
of action in Albany regarding public policy issues.
the priorities that we have been working on during this off-session include
continued action on Timothy’s Law with a rally planned to take place
at the Capitol on November 18th (details follow). I was the chair of the
Parity Coalition (before it was called Timothy’s Law) several years
ago and now, coming back into the advocacy world five years later, I am
very impressed with the progress that has been made by the stakeholders
in raising public awareness of the issue. This has been a tireless struggle
for many, but one in which there is great commitment from the O’Clairs,
MHANYS and many other organizations. We remain resolute in our commitment
to pass Timothy’s Law. That is one of the reasons why it is so important
to have great participation in the rally on November 18th.
issue with potential of great impact to our members is the Governor’s
recent veto of the legislature’s partial restoration of the ‘Aid
to Localities’ portion of the budget. In response to the cuts, we
are working in a coalition with several other mental health organizations.
We will work with both houses to attempt to override the Governor’s
veto of the Aid to Localities portion of the budget. A more detailed description
of these cuts and a plan of action from the members of our coalition will
be out within the next few weeks (see below).
Assembly came back into session on September 20th, but did not override
any of the Governor’s vetoes. We have enclosed an article from the
Albany Times Union that details the failure to override the vetoes.
However, both sides of the aisle will be back again before the New Year
(the Senate is coming back on November 18th and 19th).
the coming weeks, we will be continually updating you about other issues
relevant to MHANYS including an update on PROS, Elimination of Solitary
Confinement for Individuals with Mental Illness, the Medication Grant
Program, Medication Accessibility, Housing and other issues of vital importance.
week’s attachments are an article in the Albany Times Union
detailing the Assembly’s Special Session Meeting on September 20
and a posting for a new director of the New York Mental Hygiene Institute.
feel free to provide us with any feedback or relevant articles that you
would like to share.
Aid to Localities: As part of the Governor's budget vetoes last month
was $4.5M the legislature had allocated to partially restore the $7.7M
cut in the ‘Aid to Localities’ portion of the Governor’s
Executive budget proposal in January.
money is used for the following purposes:
Services; Affirmative Business/Industry; Alternative Crisis Support; Assisted
Competitive; Employment; Bridger/Transition Management Services; Coordinated
Children's Services Initiative; Crisis Intervention; Crisis Outreach;
Drop In Centers; Enclave in Industry; Family Support Services; Local Governmental
Unit Administration; Mobile Treatment Team/Crisis Outreach; Multicultural
Initiative; Neighborhood Care Team; Ongoing Integrated Supported Employment;
On-Site Rehabilitation; Outreach; Peer Advocacy; Psychosocial Club; Recreation;
School Based Initiative; Self-Help Programs; Sheltered Workshop; Social
Adult Day Care; Supported Education; Transitional Employment Placement;
Transportation; Vocational Services; Children & Family; Work Program
has joined a number of other mental health organizations in an attempt
to restore this funding. Together, we have developed an action plan that
consists of several components that will raise awareness of the problem
with members of the legislature and the Governor and hopefully get them
to act upon it. We hope that our actions will result in a restoration
of this crucial funding.
Health Voter Empowerment: Among other positive developments that have
stemmed from increased attention being paid to electoral politics in this
Presidential Election Year is a renewed commitment to the Mental Health
Voter Empowerment Project (MHVEP). We have already sent out over 400 candidate
questionnaires so that we can once again assemble our Voter Education
Guide. In addition to this bi-annual occurrence, we are also working with
organizations throughout the state to promote registration, education
and “Get Out The Vote” activities. We will be attending the
NYAPRS conference to register voters there and bring new membership to
MHVEP. We also recently spoke to clubhouse participants at Clearview Center
in Albany County.
addition to these outreach campaigns, you may wish to check out our new,
updated website. Visit us at www.mhanys.org/mhvep to find out what is
happening in your area, to join MHVEP, to learn more about the project,
and to find out how you can get involved. The website serves as an invaluable
resource as we seek to reignite this essential program.
York Mental Hygiene Institute Seeks Executive Director: The New York
Mental Hygiene Institute is looking for a dynamic person to lead the agency.
NYMHI is an Albany-based statewide 501(c)(3) not for-profit founded in
2000. The Executive Director is responsible for leadership, management
and operation of the agency. The NY MHI promotes cutting edge research,
training, and technical assistance and serves as a clearing house for
New York’s mental hygiene community.
written and verbal communication skills are necessary. Experience with
grant writing and resource acquisition, contract management, public speaking
and intergovernmental relations are high priorities for the position.
Past success in agency development a plus.
send resume, cover letter and availability for full-time or part-time
employment, no later than 9/30/2004, to MHIExecutiveDirector@clmhd.org.
MHI is an equal opportunity employer.
FOR TIMOTHY’S LAW
NOVEMBER 18, 2004
1:00 Gathering at NYS Museum
1:30 Rally at NYS Capitol
Additional information at:1-888-326-8644 and
Join Timothy’s Team for email updates –
fails to rally an override. By James M. Odato
September 21, 2004
-- Assembly falls one vote short in bid against Pataki's budget vetoes;
speaker accuses governor of inducing some members to skip session
a surprising setback for Speaker Sheldon Silver, the Democrat-led Assembly
failed on Monday to override Gov. George Pataki's vetoes of the Legislature's
angry, Silver charged that Pataki had twisted arms of key Assembly members
to foil the override. He said Pataki had won just one round in a continuing
fight and that the Democratic majority will ultimately prevail.
called Assembly members to "encourage them to be AWOL," Silver
said. He accused the Republican governor of threatening GOP members with
political retribution and of bribing Democrats with sweeteners if they
joined the minority to block an override.
Assembly Democrats Steve Kaufman and Carmen Arroyo of the Bronx and Ronald
Tocci of New Rochelle never even made it to Albany, despite Silver's expectations.
Silver said he was told Arroyo was in Florida and the others may have
reported being ill.
John Cahill, Pataki's top aide, met behind closed doors with Assembly
Republicans several times during multiple private conferences on both
sides of the aisle.
Silver called the Assembly back after a month away, he had been assured
by enough of his 102-member conference that he had at least the 100 votes
needed for an override, which requires the votes of two-thirds of the
150 Assembly members.
Arroyo, Kaufman and Tocci missing, Silver was one vote shy.
Joel Miller, R-Poughkeepsie, also had said Monday morning that he would
break with his own conference to vote with Silver because he wanted hundreds
of millions of dollars more for higher education, funds to keep Mount
McGregor prison open and more spending on libraries.
Miller said he was summoned to Pataki's office in the afternoon and was
persuaded to see things the governor's way.
said Pataki's aides told him that his needs will be met through a three-way
agreement between the Senate, Assembly and governor, and that Senate Republicans
did not want the Assembly to leave the issue hanging over their heads
during this election season.
Majority Leader Joseph Bruno's office did not respond to inquiries, but
Bruno has said he will call his members back to session after the Nov.
is the process of politics," Miller said. "This isn't the best
picture. It's the making of sausage. ... This is the part you don't want
the public to see."
Assembly planned to override about 100 of Pataki's 195 vetoes, or all
of the items that the Assembly passed before the Senate in August. A few
attempts to override specific measures Monday failed along partisan lines.
That allowed Democrats to put Republicans on record voting against bringing
back money for social service programs, libraries and community colleges,
and perhaps using the votes against the GOP in the upcoming elections,
some majority members said.
aides acknowledged that the governor had used some leverage.
he always does, the governor urged the members of the Assembly to vote
based on principle," said Kevin Quinn, Pataki's spokesman.
the Assembly broke at 9 p.m., Assembly Minority Leader Charles Nesbitt
said his members chose to stick together to thwart the overrides in hopes
of getting Silver to agree to cost-saving reforms, such as an overhaul
of the Medicaid program. "Nobody wants to withdraw money from libraries.
But we need to work that out within the framework of a balanced budget,"
list of override targets included measures appropriating tens of millions
of dollars for library funding and extra cash for school districts and
governments, such as $1 million for Schenectady schools and $100,000 for
the city of Saratoga Springs, and more than $5.5 million for community
said he is committed to overcoming Pataki's $235 million in vetoes, leaving
a $101.3 billion budget for this year. The speaker also wants to restore
$1.6 billion in vetoed borrowing, largely for upgrades and construction
Assembly did repeal a law that authorized the state to collect speeding
ticket revenues now kept by towns.
said the reversal, which will short the state $22 million, is one of a
host of bad decisions made by the Assembly on Monday. As he blasted Silver
for proposing to add to state debt and to harm state finances, he criticized
the Assembly for not taking up other important legislation, such as fixing
the death penalty law and other tough-on-crime measures.
revenue isn't there, the money isn't there," said Pataki, envisioning
massive shortfalls if the Legislature's budget were to stand. "Somebody's
got to be an adult here."
responded that Pataki is the party exhibiting juvenile behavior. He said
that if the governor had worked as hard on the budget as he has in raising
money for President Bush's re-election, state finances would be in better
is all about politics," Silver said.
Jose Rivera, Bronx Democratic chairman, said Kaufman and Arroyo displayed
a lack of responsibility by failing to show up for work Monday. He said
Kaufman had told him he would be there to join in the override.
feel embarrassed by this," he said. "Two members of the Bronx
delegation are missing in action. Send them to Iraq!"
three seemed easy targets for Pataki, members said. Kaufman had broken
with Democrats to make an unsuccessful Senate primary bid as a Republican
this month. Arroyo had joined Democrats for Pataki in 2000. And Tocci
has shown a willingness to go against Silver in the past. A lame duck,
he will retire from the Assembly at year's end.
if Silver has egg on his face, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, D-Westchester
responded: "This is absolutely no criticism of his management. The
governor reached out and played political hardball."
he added that "it's an inning in a game that has nine innings."
next time, we remain,
Working to ensure available and accessible
mental health services for all New Yorkers