Mental Health Education Bills Moving in Both Houses
Immediate Action Required
In the closing days of this legislative session, sponsors of A.9880 (Nolan)/S.7030 (McDonald) plan to move their bills in both houses in the State Legislature. The bills would amend the State Education Law to clarify that mental health is an integral part of health instruction in schools. It will make it easier for school districts to include mental health as part of health curriculums without creating a curriculum mandate.
A.9880 will be on the Assembly Education Committee Agenda (i.e. likely Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday).
The Senate version, S.7030 is slated to be included on the Senate Finance Committee Agenda, hopefully early this week.
Currently, the bills are being amended slightly to more clearly convey in the bill’s title its intent to clarify the definition of Health to include mental health. This is being done to eliminate any misconceptions about the bill representing a curriculum mandate – which it does not. It is crucial that your advocacy message also reinforce that this bill is not a curriculum mandate.
Please contact your legislative representative to support the passage of this important legislation
Assembly: (518) 455-4100
Senate: (518) 455-2880
When talking to legislators, please be sure to emphasize the following points….
- There will be no fiscal associated with the bill. The change in the law merely clarifies mental health is an integral part of health. In fact, the proposed language in the bill mirrors that which already exists in State regulations.
- This is not a new “mandate”. Rather, it is a long overdue acknowledgement by the Legislature and Executive that mental health and illness are as integral to one’s overall well-being as is physical health and illness, and as such, should be reflected in the law guiding health instruction. Again, the proposed language in the bill already exists in State regulations.
- This is not an added subject to teach. It revises the definition of an existing requirement to provide instruction in hygiene in order to acknowledge and clarify the inclusion of mental health.
Contact John Richter, MHANYS Public Policy Director, with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org