NYAPRS Update on Minimum Wage, Criminal Justice, Reinvestment, Capital Funds

NYAPRS Note: With a little more than a week to go to reach an April 1 state budget agreement, our advocacy is intensifying on a number of key issues. Here’s a quick update on state budget related advocacy efforts NYAPRS is pushing today. Stay tuned for details as we have them.

Minimum Wage Hike

  • There are some reports that the Governor, Senate and Assembly are nearing an agreement on a plan to gradually increase wages to $15 per hour, possibly over a 6 rather than a 5 year period. A special arrangement is being developed for hard pressed farmers. The good news is that minimum wage appears to be the top focus at this time. At the same time, it’s Albany so the prospects for an agreement remain uncertain. More later today.

Criminal Justice

  • Medicaid Access 30 days before Prison/Jail Release for ‘High Needs’ Individuals: NYAPRS is working with the Legal Action Center and MHANYS to encourage the Governor and the Legislature to include language in the 2016-17 Budget to ease New York State restrictions on the use of Medicaid funds for those who are incarcerated, and ask the State to request permission from the Federal government to use Medicaid to link released individuals to care in the community.

Our groups urged supporters to sign a petition to this effect as https://www.change.org/p/new-york-state-senate-providing-a-continuum-of-health-care-for-people-coming-home-from-our-prisons-and-jails?recruiter=87490867&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive.

Yesterday, over 100 folks signed up in only 8 hours. Sign today!

In addition, please send the petition to your local Senator and Assemblymember. To find your State Senator, click here:https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator. To find your Assemblymember, click here:http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/search/.

Please include any organizational association in your submission and also please forward this petition to others.

This morning, NYAPRS and MHANYS will have their 2nd meeting this week with Administration officials.

  • Crisis Intervention and Diversion Initiatives: A clarification: the NYS Assembly is proposing $2 million for Crisis Intervention and Diversion initiatives this session, including a new allocation of $1 million on top of a re-appropriation of last year’s approved $1 million that had been successfully advanced by the Assembly. In addition, the Senate has proposed a 3rd year in a row CIT expansion allocation, this one for $500,000.

Community Mental Health Reinvestment

  • NYAPRS and MHANYS continue to press for a full restoration of the $5.5 million cut to savings from the downsizing of 200 state hospital beds in the coming year. The Senate has put up $2.5 million and so, our advocacy has focused on the Assembly in recent days.

Health Care Facility Transformation Funds

  • NYAPRS has joined a coalition of community healthcare provider advocacy groups (see attached) who are seeking that a minimum of 25% of total available Health Care Facility Transformation funds ($50M) to non-hospital community providers, including licensed OMH and OASAS providers. Only 5.3% of capital funding has been awarded to community groups over the last 2 years. We are advocating that these funds could be used for “renovation or replacing inefficient or outdated facilities as part of mergers, consolidation, acquisition or other significant corporate restructuring activities, capital projects, debt retirement or non-capital projects.”