Leaders Move to Close Budget Deal, $40 Million More for Mental Hygiene

NYAPRS Note: As legislative leaders reach agreement on this year's state budget, NYAPRS has been continuing to work on several fronts: * Reinvestment: we participated in a Capitol news conference yesterday, sent out a member alert to call leaders to reach a state hospital downsizing/reinvestment deal and are advocating with legislative staff.

* Adult Home residents transition to the community: we are part of a group that met with the Governor's staff and advocated with legislative officials Tuesday, seeking to alter or overcome legislative proposals that delay plans to help 1,000+ residents move to supported apartments this year by forming yet another workgroup and issuing another report.

* SAFE Act reporting registry: we've done a lot of press in our opposition to the unfounded connection between violence and people with psychiatric conditions and the stigmatizing, criminalizing environment in which this law was crafted; we participated in a group meeting with the Governor's office this morning to advocate for a number of fixes to the system that's scheduled to start this Saturday and to ensure that this information is truly only used to look at gun licenses/possession. A short time ago, legislative leaders announced that they have agreed that there is $550 million more available to add to the 2013-14 Budget and dedicating $40 million for mental hygiene (OMH, OASAS, OPWDD). A good portion of that might well be committed to restoration of some of the $120 million that was cut by OPWDD services in the Governor's budget. Stay tuned!

Gov. Cuomo And Legislative Leaders Close In On Budget Deal By Glenn Blain New York Daily News March 14, 2013

Leaders from both houses of the Legislature emerged from a meeting with Gov. Cuomo this morning and gave every indication that a deal on a state budget was close - perhaps only hours away. "We're continuing our discussion," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). "We are going to convene joint conference committees. Hopefully we can hammer out a table target deal today and we'll reconvene with the governor sometime after that." Silver, who was flanked by Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau County) and Bronx Sen. Jeff Klein, leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, said they expected to meet with the governor again later this afternoon. Silver said it was unlikely the conference committees would close out their work today but suggested they could finish Friday or over the weekend. "That's why we are reconvening to make a final determination as to what the final packages look like," Silver said. "Obviously it doesn't look like anything until everything is resolved." Silver said there was no resolution on the issue of whether to raise the state's minimum wage but he remained hopeful it would be included in the final budget. "There is no resolution on anything at this point," he said. "There is no resolution on anything until there is a resolution on everything." Skelos and Klein, meanwhile, denied a published report this morning that their coalition is beginning to fracture over the minimum wage issue. "There's no fracture," Skelos said as he embraced Klein.