Bronson, Brouk Secure $2M in Funding for Daniel’s Law Pilot to Address NYS Mental Health Crisis Response

Following years of advocacy, New Yorkers are one step closer to a more compassionate and just crisis response system. As FY '25 state budget negotiations continue, State Senator Samra Brouk and Assemblymember Harry Bronson have successfully advocated for the inclusion of a $2 million Daniel’s Law Pilot Program, in both the Senate and Assembly One House Budgets.

Named in memory of Daniel Prude, who died at the hands of law enforcement during his own mental health crisis, Daniel’s Law (S.2398/A.2210) would establish a statewide framework for responding to mental health and substance use emergencies and would mobilize trained mental health providers and peers as first responders for these crises. This $2 million dollar investment will fund peer-led compassionate crisis response programs that meet the core tenets of Daniel’s Law and follows the creation of a Daniel’s Law Task Force last year.

“The Daniel’s Law Pilot Program is an opportunity for New York to experience the transformative effect of a peer-led, compassionate response to mental health and substance use crises. As we recognize the four-year anniversary of Daniel Prude’s untimely death, we continue to take steps towards transforming our mental health response in his name,” said Assemblymember Harry Bronson. “Including the Daniel’s Law Pilot in the one house budgets confirms our commitment to bringing dignity and equity to this system which has caused harm to so many members of our community. Thank you, Senator Brouk, my fellow lawmakers, advocates providers and those with lived experiences for continuing to work to change this reality to ensure a tragedy like this will never happen again.”

The Daniel’s Law Task Force brought together a state-wide consortium that included the Office of Mental Health (OMH), advocates from across the state, mental health providers and those with lived experience to examine New York’s current crisis response model and make recommendations for a more compassionate, peer-led approach. The Task Force has conducted a series of state-wide town halls to collect data, stories and experiences for which to make their recommendations, as well as holding monthly meetings, to analyze findings and discuss a way forward.

Since its creation, the Task Force has received abundant feedback expressing the urgent and immediate need for Daniel’s Law in New York State, and has indicated that they may be able to compile their report on statewide implementation of Daniel’s Law earlier than anticipated. The Task Force will continue for the pilot period and will include data and information gleaned from the pilot program in their official recommendations.

In addition to the public feedback received by the Daniel’s Law Task Force, the legislation has received the support of:

  • LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) Support Bureau
  • VOCAL New York
  • Alliance for Rights and Recovery
  • Fountain House
  • New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
  • Law Enforcement Action Partnership
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness - New York Chapter
  • Mental Health Association in New York State
  • Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative
  • New York Civil Liberties Union
  • Rochester City Council
  • New York Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus
  • National Association of Social Workers

Following the completion of the One House Budgets, the State Senate, Assembly, and Governor must agree on a final iteration of the Fiscal Year ‘25 Budget for the pilot program to take effect.

“Individuals in crisis need to be met with care and dignity,” said Senator Samra Brouk. “New York has the opportunity to both honor the life and memory of Daniel Prude, and transform the systems that have been proven to harm our communities. The Daniel’s Law Pilot will allow our state to witness what is possible when we prioritize compassion over criminalization, and will ensure healthier, safer outcomes for our communities. I am grateful to Assemblymember 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 can create the crisis response system that New Yorkers deserve.”

“I’m grateful to the advocates and organizers across New York that are helping honor the memory of my brother Daniel,” said Rochester resident Joe Prude. “No person deserves to be treated like their life doesn’t matter, especially in their moments of need. I’m thankful to Senator Samra Brouk and Assemblymember Harry Bronson for securing this funding for a Daniel’s Law Pilot, and I hope that Governor Hochul supports this funding in the final budget.”

“We’ve spent nearly four years rallying and advocating in honor of the life and memory of Daniel Prude, and I’m incredibly grateful to Senator Samra Brouk and Assemblymember Harry Bronson for their leadership in securing funding in their respective one house budgets for a Daniel’s Law Pilot Program,” said Rochester City Councilmember Stanley Martin. “This is a monumental step forward in making sure our systems work for all New Yorkers and making sure that no family must experience the pain that the Prude family has been living with since March of 2020.”

“This is an important opportunity for all of us to bring our minds together to address a difficult reality faced by our communities. We have the capacity to make it safe and supportive for anyone to seek care for substance use, mental health and psychosocial needs,” said Dr. Dalton LaBarge, Daniel’s Law Task Force member.

“Our collective vision is for every New Yorker going through a mental health or substance use crisis to get the public health, peer led response and support they need to turn their crisis into an opportunity for healing,” said Chacku Mathai, Daniel’s Law Task Force Member. “The Daniel’s Law Pilot is an important step towards making this a reality.”

“We commend Senator Brouk, Assemblymember Bronson and the New York State Senate and Assembly leadership for their work in proposing to add $2 million to the Daniel’s Law Pilot Program,” said Glenn Liebman, CEO of Mental Health Association in New York State. “The innovative program recognizes that mental health crises need to be handled with mental health professionals and peers in a spirit of compassion and cooperation. This is a best practice that should frankly be a model across every region in New York State.”

“One of the leading priorities for NAMI-NYS is reimagining crisis situations and ensuring that a mental health crisis is met with a mental health response,” said Sharon Horton, Executive Director of NAMI-NYS. “A major component of this goal is having mental health professionals as opposed to police be the first to respond to people in crisis. My family has experienced these types of crisis situations and I know too well the importance of a mental health response and the positive difference it can make. NAMI-NYS is thrilled to see the inclusion of $2 million in the Senate one-house bill for a Daniel’s Law pilot program. This pilot will demonstrate the myriad benefits of utilizing a mental health response in these situations. We thank Senator Samra Brouk and Assemblymember Harry Bronson for their unwavering leadership on this critical issue.”

“Passing Daniel's Law is crucial for the health and safety of our communities, especially for Black and brown communities that are disproportionately impacted by police responding to mental health crisis calls,” said Matt Kudish, CEO of NAMI-NYC. “We must prioritize mental health care over policing. Lives depend on it.”

“Creating a statewide system to send the appropriate public health responders for people experiencing a mental health and/or substance use related crisis is critical to improving New York’s overall mental health services continuum,” said Luke Sikinyi, Public Policy Director at Alliance for Rights and Recovery. “We are very pleased to see the NYS Assembly and Senate take a necessary step in creating this system by including funding for Daniel’s Law Mental Health First Responder pilot programs in their One House budgets! Thank you to our bill cosponsors, Senator Samra Brouk and Assemblymember Harry Bronson, as well as all our other champions in the legislature. The teams of EMTs and peer professionals will support New Yorkers in need and help determine best practices as New York looks to implement a statewide system so that anyone in need of crisis support will be met with the correct, compassionate care they deserve.”

“The mental health community loudly applauds Daniel’s Law sponsors Senator Brouk and Assemblymember Bronson, as well as their Senate and Assembly colleagues, for ensuring that $2 million for a Daniel’s Law pilot was included in the one house budgets,” said Ruth Lowenkron, Disability Justice Director at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “This is a giant step forward to ensuring that New York transforms its response to mental health crises by replacing police with health care providers as first responders.”