Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz was appointed by Speaker Sheldon Silver to the Mental Hygiene Conference Committee. As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Assemblyman Dinowitz will participate in the joint budget negotiations with the Senate pertaining to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), as well as the Office of Mental Health and the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.
Conference committees were set up as part of the Assembly’s commitment to reform Albany. These committees will make the budget process more transparent by including chairs of Assembly and Senate standing committees and other selected members in the budget negotiations. The Assembly and Senate plan to announce in the next week their own budget resolutions, in response to the Governor’s budget proposal put forth to the legislature. The purpose of the committees is to work out differences on the budget between the Assembly and Senate. The conference committee meetings begin next week.
Assemblyman Dinowitz stated, "Sitting at the budget negotiation table on matters dealing with the treatment and prevention field of chemical dependency is a very important responsibility that I enthusiastically accept. As chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, I intend to negotiate the best possible outcome for treatment and prevention providers across the state. Among the many important issues that will be discussed during the committee meeting, I intend to fight for two areas of which I am very passionate about. I strongly believe that prevention in our schools is essential to reducing demand for alcohol and drugs; and secondly, I believe we need to get out in front of the growing methamphetamine problem. I will fight to restore monies that the Governor is irresponsibly targeting to cut from prevention programs in New York City’s schools, and I will fight to secure money to combat this methamphetamine crisis."
Assemblyman Dinowitz concluded, "The people who work in this field do an invaluable service to all of us by helping those most in need to get back on their feet and living healthy and productive lives. From this appointment to the Mental Hygiene Conference Committee, I hope to ensure that they have the necessary resources to continue their work."