State Senator James L. Seward has been named to the education and higher education budget conference committees which held their first meetings Monday in Albany.

Regarding his education conference committee assignment, Senator Seward said that the senate budget resolution increases school aid by $811.9 million from last year with a $541 million restoration of the Gap Elimination Adjustment which has hurt area schools. Seward said, "eliminating the GEA has been a top priority for me, and, to date, the senate is the only legislative branch to fully target this unfair hit on our area schools."

The conference committees are made up of five senators and five assemblymen tasked with negotiating budget differences between the houses, in concert with the governor, to develop a final spending plan. The committees conduct open, public meetings which can be viewed on-line at

State Senator Seward has also been named to the newly created Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction.

The task force will examine the rise in use of heroin and other opioids in New York State and develop recommendations for treating and preventing addiction. The bipartisan task force will examine the issues and solicit input from experts and other stakeholders about addiction prevention and treatment options, the rise in heroin and opioid use, and the potential for drug-related crimes and other negative community impacts.

The task force will then develop recommendations which will be used to draft legislation to address the issues raised.

Seward said, "Heroin is infiltrating all social, economic, and geographic sectors of our state and we need to take definitive action to halt this ugly trend."