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Mental Health Update

April 6, 2021
Mental Health Update

MH Update – 4/6/21 – Leaders announce budget agreement, while lawmakers prep for a long night: MHANYS will provide full Budget Review after Final Implementation

MHANYS is working on our budget review which we will send out after the budget is fully implemented.  Listed below is an article highlighting the budget negotiations.

Leaders announce budget agreement, while lawmakers prep for a long night

By Bill Mahoney

04/06/2021 04:40 PM EDT

ALBANY — Albany’s top lawmakers have announced a three-way agreement on this year’s budget, according to a release.

It will deal with topics such as “legalizing mobile sports betting,” “providing $1 billion for small business recovery,” and “$2.1 billion for excluded workers,” the lawmakers said in a written statement.

The full details of the agreement were not yet available. Three of the 10 pieces of the budget have yet to be introduced.

But at least one house of the Legislature is planning to work however late is necessary to get the bills passed, according to Senate Finance Chair Liz Krueger. They’ll likely receive messages of necessity from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to let them waive the requirement that bills age for three days before receiving a vote.

“You could say ‘why are we still doing that, Liz?’ And I could be saying ‘yeah, I never liked that.’ But I haven’t figured out a way to change it,” Krueger said in a break between votes.

Several Assemblymembers have suggested that their chamber might also be in for a long day.

Budget extender: Despite the agreement, legislators do plan on passing a two-day extender of last year’s budget in the coming hours, according to one source. That should guarantee that even if the debate drags on, most state workers would get their paychecks on time.

Environmental bond act: Krueger confirmed that the final deal will include a $3 billion bond act, though it will not appear on the ballot until 2022.

“The governor’s people had some concerns about borrowing this close to the end of a pandemic, so we wanted to make sure we got that in there with language to make sure it couldn’t get put off again,” she said. “There were other people who were arguing ’22 was a better year for a bond question because you have more people voting in a federal-state year than an off year.”

She said there would likely be “some language tweaks” from the version of the bond act that was originally slated to appear on the ballot in 2020.

Excluded workers fund: The $2.1 billion fund will exist as a two-tiered model, with some undocumented immigrants eligible for larger amounts of relief than others.

“It’s one amount if you can actually show a paper trail — EIT, work stubs, or some other evidence of specific salary, and then you can get the higher amount,” Krueger said. “And the assumption is the vast majority of people won’t be eligible for that, and they’ll fall into the second tier, where there are some identification requirements and residency requirements and work requirements but it’s much less, and there you can only get, I think, a maximum of $3,500.”