Historic Daniel’s Law Crisis Services Legislation Passes Senate Mental Health Committee

Senator Brouk speaking at press conference

ALBANY, NY - Senator Samra G. Brouk (SD-55) announces the passage this week of S2398, “Daniel’s Law,” through the New York Senate’s Mental Health Committee. The legislation, named in honor of Daniel Prude, would establish a statewide emergency and crisis response council to work in conjunction with the commissioners of mental health and addiction services to jointly approve emergency and crisis services plans submitted by local governments, and provide supports regarding the operation and financing of high-quality emergency and crisis services provided to persons experiencing a mental health, alcohol use, or substance use crisis.

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, which is hosting public meetings and stakeholder engagement sessions around New York this year, including one held in Rochester on May 8, 2024. 

Organizations that have publicly expressed support for the legislation include: NAMI-National Alliance on Mental Illness (NYC and NYS), Mental Health Alliance of NYS, Alliance for Rights and Recovery, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, National Association of Social Workers, New York Civil Liberties Union, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, VOCAL New York, Citizen Action, Working Families Party, Fountain House, Rochester Monroe Anti Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), Rochester City Council, Black Puerto Rican Hispanic and Asian Caucus, DC-37 AFSCME AFL-CIO, Chinese American Planning Council.

The legislation has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

New York State Senator Samra G. Brouk, Chair of Senate Mental Health Committee: 

“This is a consequential moment in the fight to pass Daniel’s Law and implement trauma-informed, community-led, and public health-based crisis response and diversion for anyone in the state experiencing a mental health, alcohol use, or substance use crisis. With the passage of Daniel’s Law through the Senate Mental Health Committee, New York has the opportunity to both honor the life and memory of Daniel Prude, and transform the current crisis response systems that have been proven harmful. I am grateful to the legislation’s co-sponsor Assemblymember Harry Bronson, my colleagues in the Greater Rochester Delegation, partners in the legislature, and advocates from across the state for their support in moving Daniel’s Law forward. Together, we will continue the work to pass Daniel’s Law and create a statewide crisis response framework that ensures that people in crisis, in every community of New York, get the culturally competent, compassionate care they deserve.

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans: “Daniel’s Law will create an important tool in preventing future tragedies in instances of mental health or addiction crises. The advancement of this bill through the critically important Senate Mental Health Committee is a welcome development toward its eventual enactment into law. I want to commend Samra Brouk for fighting for this law and making sure our most vulnerable residents receive a compassionate response from social workers and counselors when they call for help.”

Stanley Martin, Rochester City Council Member and Daniel's Law Coalition Member: "Moving Daniel's Law through the Mental Health Committee is a major milestone in our fight to ensure that people experiencing a mental health crisis receive appropriate care. Our coalition is deeply grateful for the leadership of Senator Brouk and the mental health committee, in recognizing this urgent need. We applaud this important step towards the full passage of Daniel's Law, and the creation of a system that humanizes and cares for the most vulnerable members of our community."

Melanie Funchess, Director of Mental Health And Wellness, Common Ground Health and CEO of Ubuntu Village Works: “This represents a huge step on the road to victory for people living with mental health challenges and their families. Our communities are one step closer to being able to feel safe to call for help when a loved one is in crisis. Thank you, Senator Brouk and the mental health committee for championing a clinically appropriate response.”

Luke Sikinyi, Director of Public Policy, Alliance for Rights and Recovery (formerly NYAPRS): “We are encouraged to see the Senate Mental Health Committee vote to push Daniel’s Law through the committee, taking a needed step towards full passage of the bill. This decision shows the committee is firm in their desire to get New Yorkers the appropriate health response to mental health and substance use crises. The Alliance joins the Daniel’s Law Coalition in thanking Senate Mental Health Committee Chair and Daniel’s Law Sponsor Senator Samra Brouk for her continued leadership and championing of the bill. We also commend the members of the committee for moving closer towards offering New Yorkers comprehensive, compassionate support in their times of need.”

Ruth Lowenkron, Esq., Disability Justice Director at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, shared her deep appreciation for all of Senator Samra Brouk’s hard work to get Daniel’s Law introduced and passed out of the Senate Mental Health Committee. “Not another person experiencing a mental health crisis can be permitted to die at the hands of the police. Daniel’s Law must be enacted immediately so that persons with disabilities can receive the health-driven crisis response to which they’re entitled.”

“As a career law enforcement official, I know that while police are needed to address dangerous situations and investigate crimes, we are not the best equipped to work with people experiencing a mental health crisis,” said Lt. Diane Goldstein (Ret.), Executive Director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP). “Rather, deploying trained community responders to the scene is not only a better approach to getting people the help they need, but also frees up time and resources for law enforcement to conduct the work that we’re actually trained to carry out. The proposals in Daniel’s Law and its passage through the Senate Mental Health Committee is a great step forward to building a more meaningful approach to how we treat mental health crises in the field.”

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