The Rabbinical Alliance of America—Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis—applauds Gov. Kathy Hochul who vetoed on December 22 the Blooming Grove Community Preservation Bill (NY State Assembly Bill A5761). The bill, couched as a measure enabling the town of Blooming Grove to tax property sales and use the proceeds to buy land it wants to conserve or the development rights to those tracts, in actuality was a ploy to prevent the Hasidic population from developing legitimate housing for its communities needs.
The proposed legislation mirrored a similar bill for the neighboring town of Chester, also vetoed in 2019 by the governor at the time because of its discriminatory nature toward the growing local Hasidic community. Governor Hochul pointed out the similarities in her veto message.
Hochul wrote, “There have been well-documented tensions in Orange County between local elected officials and members of the Hasidic community. Similar tensions in the nearby Town of Chester resulted in litigation. It would be inappropriate to sign this legislation at this juncture, while facts are still being gathered about the situation.”
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America stated, “we appreciate the diligent attention given by Governor Hochul in vetoing this bill which many in the Orthodox community feel was designed to discriminate against the growing Hasidic population in the area. Governor Hochul sent the message that it is unacceptable to enact laws that serve as a tool to discriminate. One of the most powerful ways to eradicate institutional hate, bigotry and antisemitism is to carefully examine legislation being considered for law to ensure that it carries no discriminatory impact. Just because a bill goes through the legitimate preparatory stages and processes does not mean that the proposed legislation is not discriminatory. Sadly, history is full of examples of discriminatory legislation that should never have been enacted.
“Legislators bear the responsibility to examine and vet proposed legislation prior to its enactment. They have a moral obligation to ensure that a proposed law will not have a discriminatory impact. The Rabbinical Alliance of America applauds Governor Hochul for stepping in where the legislature failed and preventing the discriminatory Blooming Grove Community Preservation Bill from becoming law. By doing so, Governor Hochul has averted a law that would have caused friction in the community and enabled interested parties to target the Hasidic community with discriminatory actions.”