The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis — applauds Gov. Kathy Hochul who vetoed on December 23 the Community Preservation Fund for the Town of Chester Bill (NY State Senate Bill S1810A). On its face, the bill innocently appears to authorize the town of Chester to establish community preservation funds. In actuality, this bill was a ploy to prevent the Hasidic and Orthodox population from developing legitimate housing for its communities needs.
The proposed legislation mirrored a similar bill for the neighboring town of Blooming Grove, vetoed last year by Governor Hochul, as well similar legislation proposed for the town of Chester in 2019 and vetoed by the governor at the time because of its discriminatory nature toward the growing local Hasidic community.
In her veto message, Hochul said, “There has been well-documented tension in the town of Chester between local officials and members of a specific population of the Hasidic community which has also resulted in litigation. Similar unease exists in the neighboring area of Blooming Grove. In light of ongoing and historical tensions, it would be inappropriate to sign this legislation at this juncture and I am therefore constrained to veto this bill.”
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 veto if appropriate, 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 Community Preservation Fund for the Town of Chester 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.”