'Daniel’s Law' passes NY Senate mental health committee

Originally published in Democrat & Chronicle on .
Sen Brouk and AM Bronson

'Daniel's Law' has taken another step forward.

According to a press release, Senator Samra Brouk announced that Daniel's Law Crisis and Services Legislation was passed through the NY Senate Mental Health Committee by a unanimous bipartisan vote.

The legislation, named in honor of Daniel Prude, would establish a statewide emergency and crisis response council to work with several parts of New York state's mental health and addiction services to approve emergency and crisis services plans and support their operation and financing.

The bill's passage through the Senate Mental Health Committee aligns with the work of the New York State Office of Mental Health Daniel's Law Task Force, hosting public meetings and stakeholder engagement sessions around New York this year.

Daniel Prude died in March 2020 after he was taken into custody by Rochester Police during a mental health crisis.

This bill was introduced in the year following Prude's death, beginning as a community-wide coalition in Rochester. Senator Brouk says the legislation has now moved statewide, involving advocates, legislators, and people with lived experience. 

According to Brouk, the passage of this bill in the NY Senate Mental Health Committee is a huge and historic step in getting the law on the books in New York State, considering it began as a community-led coalition. 

"Every step closer to fully implementing Daniel's Law is a big step," she said.

According to the Daniel's Law website, if passed, this law would: 

  • Ensure mental health crises are treated as a public health issue, not a public safety threat
  • Build a meaningful mental health response system outside of the police.
  • Remove police as the default first responders to address mental health needs.
  • Create Councils of people with lived experience and mental health experts dedicated to de-escalation goals: trauma-informed, culturally competent care.


In 2015, the Treatment Advocacy Center reported that people who don't receive treatment for their mental illness are 16 times more likely to experience police violence.

Brouk noted that following Prude's tragic death, numerous New Yorkers have found themselves in comparable circumstances. Despite significant progress in advancing the bill, she emphasized recognizing that the pace of change has never been swift enough.

"I very much understand that every day we don't have this law on the books in New York, people are in danger of losing their lives," Brouk said. "Especially those with a mental health diagnosis."

The senator said it is a top priority to implement this bill into law. The bill is now with the Senate Finance Committee. 

Photo Credit: Tina MacIntyre-Yee/Rochester Democrat And Chronicle