Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
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July 3, 1998


I am transmitting to the Secretary of State, without my signature, 98-S-2379, "An Act Relating to Mental Health, Retardation, and Hospitals - Department of Health."

This Act transfers the responsibilities for the Division of Substance Abuse from the Department of Health to the Department of Mental Health, Retardation, and Hospitals. Although the effective date of this Act is July 1, 1998, the Act does allow for a continuance of administrative functions by postponing the transfer until it is put into force and effect by my Executive Order. Furthermore, the Act authorizes the Director of Administration, with my approval, to make conclusive determinations as to personnel, property, records and funds involved with the transfer, and to carry out any further measures and dispositions as may be needed to effectuate the transfer.

I do not wholly support the transfer of substance abuse functions from the Department of Health to the Department of Mental Health, Retardation, and Hospitals. In the first year of my administration, the General Assembly, at my initiation, merged the Department of Substance Abuse into the Department of Health by creating the Division of Substance Abuse.

I do, however, accept the decision of the General Assembly in enacting this legislation and the reasons given by the Assembly in support of this transfer. Pursuant to the discretion given to me under the legislation, I will work to bring about the transfer of the Division of Substance Abuse in the most constructive manner as possible consistent with the overall goal of improving the quality of Rhode Island's substance abuse treatment and prevention programs.

It must be noted that the General Assembly has failed to appropriate funding for any of the costs expected to result from the actual transfer. Therefore, the Administration may need to request supplemental funding from the General Assembly during the FY 1999 budget year to accomplish the goals of this Act.

For the foregoing reasons, I will allow 98-S-2379 to become law without my signature.


Lincoln Almond