Fax from Albany
December 27, 2002
Board Members, Affiliate Executive Directors, Interested Parties
Joseph A. Glazer, Esq., President/CEO
(518) 434-0439 ext. 20
A Fishy Veto: Late Friday evening, the week before the Christmas
holiday, Governor George Pataki vetoed the Community Mental Health Support
and Workforce Reinvestment Bill. (S.7560[Sen. Libous]/A.11604-A[Assm.
Luster]). According to the “Veto message”, the governor’s
explanation why he killed the bill, he argues that language in the bill
violated his powers under the state constitution.
line the governor purportedly based his veto on states that the funding
for the Reinvestment program “shall be reflected in executive budget
submissions for state fiscal years 2003-04 and thereafter”. Yet,
in 2001-02 the Governor’s budget proposed his own “Workforce
Reinvestment” bill. It is similar to the one he vetoed, except for
hospital closures and co-locations. In his bill two years ago was the
following language, “The amount of community mental health support
and workforce reinvestment funds for the office of mental health shall
be determined annually in the executive budget…”
let’s get this straight. The vetoed bill was unconstitutional because
it says, “shall be reflected in executive budget submissions…”
But, “shall be determined annually in the executive budget…”
though the Hudson River is beginning to freeze over here in Albany, something
still smells fishy.
the Outrage: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote, “Riots
occur not at the point of greatest despair, but at the point of greatest
hope.” Earlier this week, Governor Pataki killed the only true commitment
made by the state of New York to people living with mental illnesses in
more than a generation. Yet, from the vast majority of the community mental
health advocates, the silence has been deafening. Certainly the timing
of the veto was intended to reduce public attention, awareness and response
about that painful pen stroke. However, the news is now known statewide.
our colleagues reached such a level of despair that they have no fight
left? The 1993 adoption of Reinvestment was the high point of mental health
advocacy in current memory. We have had few victories since, and all of
us were certainly deflated when Reinvestment was allowed to expire on
September 30, 2001.
Imagine, if you will, that the Governor vetoed the Sexual Orientation
Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) after it was passed last week. Imagine
if the Governor had vetoed the women’s health bill that was pushed
through at the end of last session. Would there be silence among those
Who Cook, Monday, January 27th from 6 to 8 pm in the Governor's Reception
Hall, Executive Chamber, NYS Capitol. To purchase tickets for "A
delectable evening you'll never forget for a very worthy cause" please
call 434-0439 extension 31.
5.07 Survey Follows this Friday Fax from Albany or
Complete the Survey online!
Holidays and Seasons Greetings
To All Readers of the Friday Fax from Albany!
the News: Attached is an article from the Associated Press, discussing
the governor’s veto of Reinvestment.
Associated Press Writer
N.Y. -- Gov. George Pataki has signed into law safeguards for New Yorkers
contracting with lower-priced energy companies while vetoing another bill
that would help fund some mental health services, a spokesman said Monday.
Home Energy Fair Practices Act was signed Friday and announced Monday
with several other bills on which the governor recently acted. Among them
was Pataki's veto of a bill that would continue funding community-based
mental health programs with the savings realized when patients leave psychiatric
centers. Instead, Pataki said he plans to continue the funding through
his own budget proposal.
spokesman Joseph Conway said Monday that the consumer protection bill
will not only safeguard energy consumers, but also promote greater competition
among energy companies.
people shop for cheaper electricity in the deregulated markets (the law
now) provides them with all the consumer protections they always enjoyed,"
said William Ferris, spokesman for the consumer group AARP, on Monday.
The lobbying group considered the bill a priority for older consumers
on fixed incomes.
among the protections are the right to file complaints about service or
billings to the state Public Service Commission, to be provided a deferred
payment plan before service is cut for nonpayment, and the option of spreading
the cost of service evenly through the year.
state began "deregulating" its energy market in 1996 to give
New Yorkers more power-buying choices, in hopes that competition for customers
would drive electric prices down while keeping service standards high.
However, just 5.5 percent, or 400,000, of utility customers statewide
have switched, said PSC spokesman David Flanagan. Ferris said the new
law could encourage more people to switch.
also vetoed a measure to reauthorize the Community Mental Health Reinvestment
Program. Created in 1993, it takes the money that would be used to support
patients in state psychiatric centers _ totaling about $180 million a
year now _ and redirects it into community-based services when they leave
an institution. The program expired in September 2001.
said the state constitution prohibits the program, at least as it's written
in the bill. The Republican said the bill would require the allocation
of resources that only the governor and Legislature are empowered to spend.
He said he intends to propose re-establishing the program in his austere
2003-04 executive budget to be released in January.
leaves hope alive," said Harvey Rosenthal of the state Association
of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services.
advocates fear the return of the funding to the state's political budget
process will mean less money for care.
the law expired in September 2001 more than $38 million in savings hasn't
gone to the community programs, said Joseph Glazer of the Mental Health
Association in New York State. He said he fears Pataki will use the money
to pay for his promised reforms of adult homes, which were the subject
of New York Times articles about abuse and neglect of many mentally ill
of people with serious mental health needs are languishing without proper
care in jails, prisons, adult homes and nursing homes and Gov. Pataki
has chosen to vanquish one of the few historic commitments this state
has ever made to them," said Joseph Glazer of the Mental Health Association
in New York State, a lobbying group.
no substitute in place, community-based providers are dangling with no
assurances of funding from the state and with little hope of adequate
funding from hard-pressed counties," said Assemblyman Martin Luster,
an Ithaca Democrat and chairman of the Assembly's Mental Health Committee.
also vetoed a bill that would have allowed wineries to sell wine on Sundays
from their offsite "satellite stores." While alcohol can't legally
be sold in New York now from stores, wine companies can sell their beverages
_ mostly to tourists _ at the wineries all week.
said he feared the Sunday sales by as many as five satellite stores for
each of the state's 150 wineries could hurt traditional liquor stores'
sales. He had proposed a three-year sunset on the law that was rejected
by the Assembly.
leaders, however, are considering lifting the ban on alcohol sales at
liquor stores on Sundays as well as allowing grocery stores to sell wine
as a way to increase state tax revenue and fill a multibillion deficit.
veto "is a huge slap in the face to the wineries of this state who
not only market New York wines but they are also selling New York state
as a destination to tourists near and far," said Assembly Agriculture
Chairman William Magee, a Madison County Democrat.
MHANYS’ 5.07 Survey
COMPLETE AND RETURN TO MHANYS BY JANUARY 3, 2003
Fill out the 5.07 Survey Online
Name & Title: ________________________________________________________
Organization (if applicable): _____________________________________________
1. In 2001 or 2002, did you ever participated or were you ever asked to
participate in a public hearing or meeting held by the mental health services
council to gain input regarding the development of the statewide goals and
____ Don’t Know
2. Has your local government established a comprehensive plan for mental
health services for 2001, 2002 or 2003?
____ Don’t Know
If you answered ‘Yes’ to Question
2, please complete the following
2a. Does that plan incorporate the goals and objectives as the
mental health services council has established?
2b. Is there adequate representation of consumers, consumer groups, providers
of services and departmental facilities furnishing services to the mentally
disabled in the development of this plan?
____ Don’t Know
____ Don’t Know
2c. Who participates in the development of such a local plan?
Please mail or fax to Michael Seereiter, Director of Public Policy
194 Washington Avenue, Suite 415 Albany, NY 12210
next time, we remain,
Working to ensure available and accessible mental health services for
all New Yorkers