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At 10:30AM on January 25, 2012, a meeting was held with members of the Council of Korean Churches of Greater New York, New York City Comptroller John Liu, NYC Councilman Fernando Cabrera, and KAVC staff in regards to the New York State law banning religious groups’ use of school buildings. KAVC and the Council of Korean Churches held a petition campaigning urging the NYC Department of Education and the Mayor’s office to extend the deadline for six months. To go beyond just Korean churches, KAVC reached out to the City government and organized this meeting where council members met with the Comptroller and a councilman.

Councilman Cabrera said this was a good sign and good news will come from the State Senate. He urged Korean churches to participate in a prayer rally in Brooklyn to protest against the New York State law and pressure the city government to amend the law. Council president Rev. Seung Ho Yang stated that he is doing all he can to garner support.

On January 24, 2012, the New York State Senate Education Committee (Chair: Sen. John Flanagan) unanimously passed S6087A. This law amends the current text, allowing religious groups to use schools for worship and ceremonies when classes are not in session.

This law was created to counter the law that banned religious groups from using schools.

A resolution with the same context, A8800 is currently under debate in the State Assembly, and it is expected that voting will be in the following week.

The leader of this movement, Councilman Cabrera expected a vote on this issue in the coming two weeks.

The following is the content of S6087A.

 

#####

STATUS:

S6087-A  GOLDEN   No Same as

Education Law

TITLE….Authorizes the use of school buildings and school sites for religious
meetings and worship when not in use for school purposes

______________________________________________________________________________

SUMMARY:

GOLDEN, DeFRANCISCO, DIAZ, DILAN, ESPAILLAT, GALLIVAN, GRIFFO, GRISANTI,
KENNEDY, LANZA, LARKIN, LIBOUS, MARTINS, MAZIARZ, O’MARA, PARKER, RANZENHOFER,
RITCHIE, RIVERA, ROBACH, SAMPSON, SMITH, ZELDIN

Amd S414, Ed L

Authorizes the use of school buildings and school sites for religious meetings
and worship when not in use for school purposes or when such service or worship
is deemed not disruptive of normal school operations.

____________________________________________________________________________

BILL TEXT:

 

                STATE OF NEW YORK

       
________________________________________________________________________
____

 

                                        
6087–A

 

                    IN SENATE

 

                                       (Prefiled)

 

                                     January 4,
2012

                                      
___________

 

        Introduced by Sens. GOLDEN,
DeFRANCISCO, DIAZ, GALLIVAN, GRIFFO, GRISAN-

          TI, 
KENNEDY,  LANZA, LIBOUS, MAZIARZ,
O’MARA, RIVERA, SAMPSON, SMITH,

          ZELDIN — read twice and ordered  printed, 
and  when  printed 
to  be

          committed  to the Committee on Education — committee
discharged, bill

          amended, ordered reprinted as amended
and recommitted to said  commit-

          tee

 

        AN 
ACT to amend the education law, in relation to authorizing religious

          meetings and worship in school
buildings and school sites

 

          The People of the State of New
York, represented in Senate and
  Assem-

        bly, do enact as follows:

 

     1   
Section 1. The opening paragraph and paragraph (c) of subdivision 1 of

     2 
section  414  of  the
education law, the opening paragraph as amended by

     3 
chapter 369 of the laws of 1977 and paragraph (c) as amended by  chapter

     4 
345 of the laws of 2009, are amended and a new subdivision 3 is added to

     5 
read as follows:

     6   
Schoolhouses  and  the 
grounds  connected  therewith and all property

     7 
belonging to the district shall be in the custody and under the  control

     8 
and  supervision  of the trustees or board of education of the
district.

     9 
The trustees or board of education, or in  the 
city  of  New 
York  the

    10  community  school board, may adopt reasonable
regulations for the use of

    11 
such schoolhouses, grounds or other property, all portions thereof, when

    12 
not in use for school purposes or when the school is in use  for 
school

    13  purposes  if 
in  the  opinion of the trustees or board of education
use

    14 
will not be disruptive of 
normal  school  operations, 
for  such  other

    15 
public purposes as are herein provided[; except, however, in the
city of

    16  New
York each community school board shall be authorized to prohibit any

    17  use  of 
schoolhouses and school grounds within its district which would

    18  otherwise
be permitted under the provisions of this section
]. Such regu-

    19  lations
shall provide for the safety and 
security  of  the 
pupils  and

    20 
shall not conflict with the provisions of this chapter and shall conform

    21 
to  the  purposes 
and  intent  of 
this section and shall be subject to

    22 
review on appeal to the commissioner of education as  provided 
by  law.

    23 
The  trustees  or 
board  of  education of each district may, subject to

 

         EXPLANATION–Matter in italics
(underscored) is new; matter in brackets

                              [ ]
is old law to be omitted.

                                                                  
LBD13680-02-2

        S. 6087–A                          2

 

     1 
regulations adopted as above provided, permit the use of the schoolhouse

     2 
and rooms therein, and the grounds and other property of  the 
district,

     3 
when  not  in 
use  for school purposes or when
the school is in use for

     4 
school  purposes if in the opinion
of the trustees or board of education

     5 
use will not be disruptive of normal school operations, for any  of  the

     6 
following purposes:

     7   
(c) For holding social, civic, religious and recreational
meetings and

     8 
entertainments, and other uses pertaining to the welfare of the communi-

     9 
ty; but such meetings, entertainment and uses shall be non-exclusive and

    10 
shall  be  open to the general public. Civic meetings
shall include, but

    11 
not be limited to, meetings of parent 
associations  and  parent-teacher

    12 
associations.

    13    3. 
Nothing  in  this section shall authorize the trustees or
board of

    14  education
of the district to adopt or interpret regulations for the
  use

    15  of  schoolhouses, grounds or other property,
pursuant to subdivision one

    16  of
this section, that would result in the
 
exclusion  or  limitation 
of

    17  speech,  during 
non  school  hours, even where students may be present,

    18  including
speech that expresses religious conduct or discusses
  subjects

    19  from
a religious viewpoint.

    20   
§ 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________________________________________________________________

SPONSORS MEMO:

NEW
YORK STATE SENATE

INTRODUCER’S MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT

submitted in accordance with Senate Rule VI. Sec 1

 

BILL
NUMBER:
S6087A

 

SPONSOR:
GOLDEN              

 

TITLE
OF BILL
:

An
act to amend the education law, in relation to authorizing religious

meetings
and worship in school buildings and school sites

 

 

 

PURPOSE
OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL
:

The
purpose of the bill is to authorize the use of school buildings and

school
sites for religious meetings and worship when not in use for

school
purposes.

 

 

SUMMARY
OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS
:

Section
1 amends the opening paragraph and paragraph (c) of subdivision

1
of section 414 of the education law, the opening paragraph as amended

by
chapter 369 of the laws of 1977 and paragraph (c) as amended by chap-

ter
345 of the laws of 2009, are amended to include:

 

The
City of New York and community school boards and;

 

A
provision that prohibits the adoption of restrictions to exclude or

limit
speech, during non-school hours, including speech that expresses

religious
conduct or viewpoints.

 

 

JUSTIFICATION:

This
bill would prevent school districts from excluding groups from

meeting
on school property because of the religious content or viewpoint

of
their speech, including allowing religious worship services.

 

Currently,
State Education Law allows for social, civic and recreational

meetings
and entertainment on school property, as well as other uses

pertaining
to the welfare of the community. State law further holds that

such
meetings, entertainment and uses shall be nonexclusive and shall be

open
to the general public. However, certain groups or organizations are

not
always allowed to hold the types of meetings seemingly envisioned

herein,
including those with religious content or viewpoints.

 

For
example, several years ago, a U.S. Appeals Court ruled that the

Bronx
Household of Faith church (“Bronx Household”), based in New York

city,
was not permitted to use space in a Bronx public middle school for

its
Sunday morning worship service. Since then, however, the United

States
Supreme Court ruled in Good News Club vs. Milford Central School

that
it was unconstitutional for a public school district in upstate New

York
to exclude from its facilities “a private Christian organization

for
children, and the Supreme Court further held in the Good News Club

case
that “by denying the club access to the school’s limited public

forum
on the ground that the club was religious in nature, Milford

discriminated
against the club because of its religious viewpoint in

violation
of the free speech clause.

 

In
light of Milford, Bronx Household re-petitioned the U.s. appeals

court,
which again upheld the school’s policy banning the use of its

space
for religious worship services, reasoning that “While the conduct

of
religious services undoubtedly includes expressions of a religious

point
of view, it is not the expression of that point of view that is

prohibited
by the rule. Prayer, religious expression of devotion to God,

and
the singing of hymns, whether done by a person or group, do not

constitute
the conduct of worship services. These activities are not

excluded.  Groups like Bronx Household should be allowed
to hold and

conduct
such meetings, even in the event that such meetings include

religious
content or views in their speech, so long as these meetings

are
open to the general public. Some school districts have excluded

groups
and have thereby acted to regulate free speech and the conduct of

such
members of the public, potentially in violation of the First Amend-

ment
to the Constitution of the united States. This bill seeks to

protect
such organizations from these actions.

 

 

PRIOR
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY
:

(Unknown)

 

 

FISCAL
IMPLICATIONS
:

None
to the state.

 

 

EFFECTIVE
DATE
:

This
act shall take effect immediately.

______________________________________________________________________________

 
























KOREAN AMERICAN CIVIC EMPOWERMENT
NEW YORK OFFICE: 163-10 NORTHERN BLVD. #307 FLUSHING, NY 11358 TEL: (718) 961-4117 FAX: (718) 961-4603
NEW JERSEY OFFICE: 185 BRIDGE PLAZA N SUITE 306 FORT LEE, NJ 07024 TEL: (201) 488-4201




01/04/12


REFERRED TO EDUCATION



01/13/12


AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO EDUCATION



01/13/12


PRINT NUMBER 6087A



01/24/12


1ST REPORT CAL.126