April 3, 2023
Earlier today both houses of the NYS Legislature passed a one week extender bill (a temporary budget extension to continue spending at current funding levels) sent down by the Governor, that extends the current budget until April 10, and then rank and file members of both houses went home for the holidays. Over the weekend Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins offered that they are currently “in the middle of the middle” (of the budget making process) despite the April 1st deadline. And earlier today, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie remarked that at the present time, the debate over bail reform is basically taking up 90% of all of the time spent negotiating at this point.
Legislative leaders will continue to negotiate the big ticket issues while their staff continue to discuss the details of a budget deal. Once bail reform and several of the more contentious issues are addressed, we expect things to move fast towards a final budget agreement.
ADVOCACY NEEDED: There will be staff working in the offices of our legislative representatives this week, and we must keep the pressure on both houses to ensure the 8.5% COLA, the MH and SUD insurance proposals, and the CCBHC Demo proposals are included in a final budget agreement, whenever that occurs.
Here’s a link to the NAMI-NYS letter generator. Note that there is a new letter loaded into the system. It will deliver a letter to the leaders of the Senate and Assembly as well as the members of the Mental Hygiene and Insurance committees in both houses urging them to address ALL of the insurance proposals, in the final agreement. https://naminys.quorum.us/campaign/45992/
Please take a moment to generate letters on Tuesday and Wednesday. Feel free to share the link liberally. And, thank you for keeping the flame alive!