Weekly Legislative Update 3.6.15



From:        Jay Aronson

Date:      March 6, 2015

Re:          Legislative Update




This Week At The Capitol: This was another busy but productive week for Youth Service Bureaus.


On Tuesday, the Interim Commissioner of the State Department of Education briefed the Secondary Education subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee on the Department’s budget, attempting to explain to the Committee both the cut to the two SDE line item grants and the proposed move from SDE to DCF.  Subcommittee Chair Andrew Fleischmann let it be known that he is not in favor of moving YSBs to DCF and many other subcommittee members followed suit.  YSBs DO have allies willing to stand up for you!  Later that evening, Alan Slobodien, Justin Carbonella and Erica Bromley testified before the subcommittee.  Each offered a different viewpoint of YSBs, RBA Data, JRBs, services offered, leveraged funding, etc.  Once again, Rep. Fleischmann spoke up in favor of YSBs. It is clear that he is a big advocate for all YSBs and the services you all provide.


On Wednesday, I caught up with Rep. Fleischmann and thanked him for the kind words he spoke about the YSBs the previous night. I also told him that while we are very happy that there is so much apparent support to keep YSBs under SDE, we do not want to lose sight of the fact that there remains a $1.3 million total cut to the YSB line items.  He understood that completely, and suggested we send him several pieces of information that could help him make the case for restoring some of the YSB funding during the subcommittee work sessions. Barbara and Erica worked on this over two days and on Friday the requested information and data was sent to Rep. Fleischmann.


The next step in the budget process is the subcommittee work groups. While these sessions are open to the public, the public is not allowed to speak. These are opportunities for Legislators to really dive in to the budget in detail and get very specific about each program. I will sit in on this work group and request that at least one Board member do the same. 


On Thursday, the Children's Committee passed SB 841, AAC the Implementation of a Comprehensive Children’s Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health Plan with substitute language.  My concern is the substitute language does not mention a consumer spot which Sen. Bartolomeo had previously had told me YSBs would be named to. I will speak to the Senator and get clarification.
I believe she may have simply used a different word to describe consumers. I will keep you in the loop as the bill moves forward.


I want to thank all of the YSB Directors, staff and clients who took the time to personally advocate for their YSBs during this difficult budget year.  Whether you spoke to your Legislators, emailed them, or sent them information, your efforts will go a long to showing how much support there is in the communities for YSBs and making sure Legislators know that YSBs are and should be a budget priority!  HOWEVER, we are a long way from the finish line and I need you to keep up the pressure.  I will let CYSA leadership know when it’s time to make contact again.  You need to remind your Senators and Representatives that you remain very much engaged in the budget process and still need their support!


As always, please contact me at your convenience should you have any questions or concerns about these or any other Legislative matters.  Also, please share this information with your members as you see fit.



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