S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
2011-2012 Regular Sessions
I N S E N A T E
February 8, 2011
Introduced by Sen. HUNTLEY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
printed to be committed to the Committee on Mental Health and Develop-
AN ACT to amend the mental hygiene law, in relation to establishing the
division of minority mental health within the office of mental health,
and providing for its powers and duties
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Legislative intent. The legislature hereby finds that
racial and ethnic minorities in America comprise a substantial and
vibrant segment of the United States population. According to the 2000
United States Census, minorities comprised the majority of the New York
City population. Further, the legislature finds that nearly half of all
New York City households speak a language other than English at home,
and that the "enormous shortage of trained bilingual and bicultural
counselors, therapists, psychiatrists and social workers, make it impos-
sible, for many limited-English-proficient New Yorkers to obtain refer-
rals and timely, appropriate mental health services" (New York State
Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health report, AN EVALUATION OF
THE DELIVERY OF MENTAL HYGIENE SERVICES IN NEW YORK STATE, February
2005). Moreover, the legislature finds that the President's New Freedom
Commission on Mental Health also found that the mental health system in
the United States "has not kept pace with the diverse needs of racial
and ethnic minorities. Misunderstanding and misinterpreting behaviors
have led to tragic consequences, including inappropriately placing
minorities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems." Consequently,
the legislature finds that a division of minority mental health should
be created to address the unique mental health needs of the racial and
ethnic minority citizens of the state.
S 2. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as the
"minority mental health act".
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
S. 3063 2
S 3. The mental hygiene law is amended by adding a new article 8 to
read as follows:
DIVISION OF MINORITY MENTAL
SECTION 8.01 DECLARATION OF POLICY.
8.05 DIVISION OF MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH.
8.07 SCOPE OF RESPONSIBILITIES.
8.09 MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH COUNCIL.
S 8.01 DECLARATION OF POLICY.
THE STATE OF NEW YORK AND ITS LOCAL GOVERNMENTS HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY
TO CARE FOR AND TREAT ALL OF ITS CITIZENS SUFFERING FROM MENTAL DISABIL-
ITIES. TO ADDRESS THE GROWING AND SIGNIFICANT DISCONNECT BETWEEN THE
MENTAL HEALTH CARE NEEDS, AND THE AVAILABILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY OF
CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY COMPETENT CARE FOR ALL NEW YORKERS, A NEW
DIVISION OF MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH IS CREATED. THE DIVISION SHALL FOCUS
ON ASSESSING THE MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS OF RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITY POPU-
LATIONS AND STRIVE TO BEST ENSURE THAT APPROPRIATE CARE IS PROVIDED TO
S 8.03 DEFINITIONS.
AS USED IN THIS ARTICLE:
(A) "COUNCIL" MEANS THE MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH COUNCIL ESTABLISHED BY
SECTION 8.09 OF THIS ARTICLE.
(B) "DIVISION" MEANS THE DIVISION OF MINORITY HEALTH ESTABLISHED BY
SECTION 8.05 OF THIS ARTICLE.
S 8.05 DIVISION OF MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH.
THERE IS HEREBY ESTABLISHED, WITHIN THE OFFICE, A DIVISION OF MINORITY
MENTAL HEALTH. THE DIVISION SHALL ASSIST THE OFFICE AND THE COMMISSIONER
IN CARRYING OUT THEIR POWERS AND DUTIES RELATING TO THE PROVISION OF
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES TO RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITIES.
S 8.07 SCOPE OF RESPONSIBILITIES.
THE DIVISION SHALL:
(A) BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSURING THAT MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMS AND
SERVICES ARE CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY APPROPRIATE TO MEET THE NEEDS
OF RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITIES;
(B) SERVE AS LIAISON AND ADVOCATE FOR THE OFFICE ON MINORITY MENTAL
HEALTH MATTERS. THIS FUNCTION SHALL INCLUDE THE PROVISION OF STAFF
SUPPORT TO THE COUNCIL AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF APPROPRIATE PROGRAM
LINKAGE WITH RELATED FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL AGENCIES AND PROGRAMS;
(C) ASSIST PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS AND STATE AGENCIES TO DEVELOP COMPRE-
HENSIVE PROGRAMS TO IMPROVE THE SUPPLY OF MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH PERSON-
NEL BY PROMOTING MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH CLINICAL TRAINING AND CURRICULUM
IMPROVEMENT, AND DISSEMINATING MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH CAREER INFORMATION
TO HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS; AND
(D) REVIEW THE IMPACT OF PROGRAMS, REGULATIONS AND MENTAL HEALTH CARE
REIMBURSEMENT POLICIES ON MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE DELIVERY AND
S 8.09 MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH COUNCIL.
(A) THERE IS HEREBY ESTABLISHED, WITHIN THE DIVISION, A MINORITY
MENTAL HEALTH COUNCIL TO CONSIST OF THE COMMISSIONER AND FOURTEEN
APPOINTED MEMBERS. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL SERVE AS THE CHAIR OF THE
COUNCIL. THE APPOINTED MEMBERSHIP OF THE COUNCIL SHALL HAVE RELEVANT
EXPERIENCE RELATED TO THE PROVISION OR RECEIPT OF MINORITY SERVICES AND
SHALL BE REFLECTIVE OF THE DIVERSITY OF THE STATE'S POPULATION INCLUD-
S. 3063 3
ING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE VARIOUS MINORITY POPULATIONS THROUGHOUT THE
STATE. THE MEMBERS SHALL BE APPOINTED AS FOLLOWS:
1. FOUR MEMBERS SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR;
2. FOUR MEMBERS SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE
3. FOUR MEMBERS SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY;
4. ONE MEMBER SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE MINORITY LEADER OF THE SENATE;
5. ONE MEMBER SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE MINORITY LEADER OF THE ASSEM-
(B) THE APPOINTED MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL SHALL EACH SERVE A TERM OF
TWO YEARS, BUT SHALL CONTINUE TO SERVE IN OFFICE UNTIL THEIR SUCCESSORS
ARE APPOINTED. ALL VACANCIES IN THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE COUNCIL SHALL BE
FILLED FOR THE UNEXPIRED TERM WITHIN SIX MONTHS OF THE DATE THE VACANCY
OCCURS. VACANCIES SHALL BE FILLED IN THE SAME MANNER AS THE ORIGINAL
(C) THE COUNCIL SHALL MEET AS FREQUENTLY AS ITS BUSINESS MAY REQUIRE,
BUT IN NO CASE SHALL IT MEET LESS THAN FOUR TIMES DURING ANY CALENDAR
(D) THE MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL SHALL RECEIVE NO COMPENSATION FOR THEIR
SERVICES, BUT SHALL BE ALLOWED THEIR ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES
INCURRED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE.
(E) THE COUNCIL SHALL:
1. AT THE REQUEST OF THE COMMISSIONER, CONSIDER ANY MATTER RELATING TO
THE PROVISION AND IMPROVEMENT OF MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES; AND
2. CONDUCT A STUDY ON THE MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS OF RACIAL AND ETHNIC
MINORITIES AND THE AVAILABILITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF PROGRAMS DESIGNED
TO MEET SUCH NEEDS. SUCH STUDY SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, AN
EXAMINATION OF: RATES OF UNDERUTILIZATION OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES BY
SPECIFIC RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS, THE REASONS CONTRIBUTING TO
SUCH UNDERUTILIZATION PATTERNS, THE AVAILABILITY OF MENTAL HEALTH
SERVICES SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF IDENTIFIED RACIAL
AND ETHNIC MINORITIES AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ADDRESSING IDENTIFIED
UNMET NEEDS AND FOR IMPROVING THE AVAILABILITY OF CULTURALLY AND
LINGUISTICALLY APPROPRIATE SERVICES. THE COUNCIL SHALL REPORT ITS FIND-
INGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE GOVERNOR, THE COMMISSIONER, THE TEMPO-
RARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY AND THE CHAIR-
PERSONS OF THE SENATE MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
COMMITTEE AND THE ASSEMBLY MENTAL HEALTH COMMITTEE, WITHIN EIGHTEEN
MONTHS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ARTICLE.
S 4. This act shall take effect on the first of April next succeeding
the date on which it shall have become a law; provided that any appoint-
ments, rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of
this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be
completed on or before such date.