senate Bill S3344

Establishes a temporary commission to examine and review the degree of segregation in primary and secondary schools

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Bill Status

  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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  • 01 / Feb / 2013
  • 08 / Jan / 2014


Establishes a temporary commission to examine and review the degree and effect of segregation in primary and secondary schools and any correlation with school funding and the long-term impact of inadequate education on segregated students; expires 2016.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
Legislative Cycle:
Senate Finance
Law Section:
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S2759A, A2895A
2009-2010: S5045, A3750
2007-2008: S2119, A4150

Sponsor Memo


TITLE OF BILL: An act creating a temporary state commission to
examine the degree and effect of segregation in primary and secondary
schools; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon
expiration thereof

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: Authorizes the state department of
education to investigate the degree and effect of segregation in New
York's primary and secondary schools, and make subsequent
recommendations to the governor and legislature.


Section 1 of this bill establishes the commission within the education
department. This section also outlines the powers of the commission to
appoint a director and staff, to conduct investigations, to conduct
hearings, to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, and procure
documents as deemed relevant to an investigation, and to submit their
findings to the governor and legislature.

Section 2 sets the rules by which the members of the commission shall
be appointed, and by which vacancies may be fulfilled; and the term
limits of such members.

Section 3 provides for the reimbursement of reasonable expenses by
members of the commission.

Section 4 enables the commission to obtain cooperation from all bodies
within the state government.

JUSTIFICATION: Segregation within public schools has been a problem
that state governments have been trying to eliminate for decades. More
than fifty years have passed since the Supreme Court decided the
landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education. There still remains a
high degree of racial separation in many of New York's Public schools.
According to information based on The 2003 Civil Rights Project
conducted by Harvard University, A MULTIRACIAL SOCIETY WITH SEGREGATED
SCHOOLS: ARE WE LOSING THE DREAM? New York State ranks number one in
the most segregated states for black students' category.

Segregation likely contributes to the resultant inequality in funding
and educational achievement gaps seen in many minority school

The establishment of a temporary, state-supported, nonpartisan
commission will serve to address this critical issue directly. The
commission's powers will enable it to bring specific incidents of
segregation to the attention of the governor and state legislature,
and recommend legislative action should a detailed investigation prove
such action to be necessary. By doing such, the state will have taken
a major step in ensuring an equal opportunity for all of its students
to be educated.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-10: A.3750/S.5045 - Referred to
Assembly Education/Senate Finance 2007-08: A.4150/S.2119 - Referred to

Education/Senate Finance 2005-06: A.1793A/S987- Referred to Assembly
Education Committee/Senate Finance 2004: A.8402A/A.6090 - Reported to
Ways & Means/Senate Finance

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2013, with provisions.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K


                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            February 1, 2013

Introduced  by  Sens.  HASSELL-THOMPSON,  MONTGOMERY  --  read twice and
  ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee  on

AN  ACT  creating a temporary state commission to examine the degree and
  effect of segregation in primary and secondary schools; and  providing
  for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof


  Section 1. There is established within the department of  education  a
temporary  state  commission  to examine and review the degree of segre-
gation in primary and secondary schools; here and after referred  to  as
the  commission.  The  commission  shall  have  the following functions,
powers and duties:
  a. To appoint an executive director who shall act in  accordance  with
the policies of the commission. The commission may delegate authority to
the  executive  director  to  act  in the name of the commission between
meetings of the commission provided such delegation is  in  writing  and
the specific powers to be delegated are enumerated;
  b.  To  appoint  such  other  staff  as are necessary to carry out its
duties under this section;
  c. To conduct investigations in connection with: the level  of  segre-
gation  in  New  York's  primary  and secondary schools; any correlation
between segregation and inadequate school  funding;  and  the  long-term
economic  impact  of  inadequate  educational  resources  on  segregated
students and society;
  d. To make an annual report to the governor and  the  legislature  not
later  than  July first of each year which shall include its recommenda-
tions. The commission shall make such further  interim  reports  to  the
governor,  or  to  the governor and legislature, as it shall deem advis-
able, or as shall be required to do by the governor, the temporary pres-
ident of the senate or the speaker of the assembly;

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.

S. 3344                             2

  e. To conduct any investigation authorized  by  this  section  at  any
place within the state; and to maintain offices, hold meetings and func-
tion at any place within the state as it may deem necessary;
  f. To conduct private and public hearings and to designate one or more
members of the commission or of its staff to preside over any such hear-
ings; and
  g.  To  administer  oaths  or affirmations, subpoena witnesses, compel
their attendance, examine them under oath or affirmation and require the
production of any books, records, documents or  other  evidence  it  may
deem relevant or material to an investigation.
  S  2.  The  commission  shall  consist  of ten members, to be known as
commissioners to be appointed as follows: Two members of the  commission
shall  be  appointed  by the governor, two by the temporary president of
the senate, two by the minority leader of the senate, two by the speaker
of the assembly and two by the minority leader of the assembly, each  to
serve  a  three year term. No more than five members shall belong to the
same political party. No member or employee of the commission shall hold
any other public office or public employment  and  no  member  shall  be
employed  as a lobbyist. The governor shall designate the chairperson of
the commission from among the members thereof, who shall serve as chair-
person at the pleasure of the  governor.  The  chairperson  or  any  six
members  of  the commission may call a meeting. Any vacancy occurring on
the commission shall be filled within 60 days of its occurrence  in  the
same  manner  as  the  original appointment. A vacancy in the commission
shall not impair the right of the remaining members to exercise all  the
powers  of the commission. A person appointed to fill a vacancy shall be
appointed for the unexpired term of the member he or she  succeeds.  Six
members  of  the commission shall constitute a quorum and the commission
shall have power to act by majority vote of the total number of  members
of  the  commission  without  vacancy.  Members of the commission may be
removed by the governor for substantial neglect of duty,  gross  miscon-
duct in office, inability to discharge the powers or duties of office or
violation  of  this  section, after written notice and opportunity for a
  S 3. The members of the commission shall not receive compensation  but
shall  be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in the performance
of their official duties.
  S 4. The commission may request and shall receive from  every  depart-
ment,  division, board, bureau, commission or other agency of the state,
or of any political subdivision thereof, cooperation and  assistance  in
the performance of its duties.
  S  5.  This  act shall take effect July 1, 2013 and shall expire March
31, 2016, when upon such date the provisions of this act shall be deemed


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