senate Bill S4606

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to unlawful discriminatory practices by educational institutions

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to investigations and government operations
Apr 15, 2013 referred to investigations and government operations

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S4606 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A6897
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Executive Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§292 & 296, Exec L

S4606 - Bill Texts

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Relates to unlawful discriminatory practices by educational institutions.

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BILL NUMBER:S4606

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to
unlawful discriminatory practices by educational institutions

Purpose of the Bill: The purpose of the bill is to extend the
anti-discrimination protections of Article 15 of the Executive Law
(Human Rights Law), Exec. L. § 296(4), to cover public and private
schools.

Summary of Provisions:

Section 1 of the bill would amend § 292(35) of Article 15 the
Executive Law (the Human Rights Law) to define "educational
institution" to include "any education corporation or association
which holds itself out to the public to be non-sectarian and exempt
from taxation pursuant to the provisions of article four of the real
property tax law" as well as "any public school, including any school
district, board of cooperative educational services, public college,
or public university."

Section 2 of the bill would amend Human Rights Law § 296(4) to remove
the reference to an "education corporation or association which holds
itself out to the public to be nonsectarian and exempt from taxation
pursuant to the provisions of article four of the real property tax
law" and replace it with the term "educational institution" which
would be defined in § 292(35).

Section 3 of the bill would provide for an immediate effective date.

Prior Legislative History: A similar bill was introduced during the
2011 legislative session.

Statement in Support: The right to be free from discrimination by
educational institutions is set out as one of the purposes of the New
York State Human Rights Law, the oldest anti-discrimination law in the
country. Moreover, in Section 291 of the Human Rights Law, entitled
Equality of Opportunity a Civil Right, the "opportunity to obtain
education" without discrimination on all the bases covered by the Law
is "recognized and declared to be a civil right." Exec. L. § 291(2).

The bill will amend the Human Rights Law so that its
anti-discrimination provisions, which afford protection against
discrimination, harassment and bullying for members of protected
groups, apply to public educational institutions, and not just to
private schools. The Division of Human Rights has asserted
jurisdiction over public school districts for over twenty years, but
the New York Court of Appeals, in a case involving severe racial
bullying of a young girl, recently held that, contrary to decades of
application, Section 296(4) does not provide jurisdiction over public
schools. North Syracuse Central Sch. Dist. v. N.Y. State Div. of Human
Rights, 19 N.Y.3d 481, 950 N.Y.S.2d 67 (2012).

The Court of Appeals indicated that persons aggrieved by
discrimination in public education are not without recourse. New York
Education Law § 310 provides that a grievance may be filed with the
Commissioner of Education. Under this provision, a "decision" of a


public school district may be "appealed". In addition, Education Law
313 provides that a complaint of discrimination by a post-secondary
educational institution may be filed with the State Commissioner of
Education. Complaints may also be tiled with the federal Office for
Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education. However, plaintiffs,
who are victims of bullying, harassment and other discrimination,
cannot receive actual compensation by pursuing any of those options,
an essential deterrent against bullying, harassment and other forms of
discrimination.

The extension of coverage by amending the definition of "educational
institution" to include public as well as private schools, will ensure
that the education provisions of the Human Rights Law fulfill the
intended purpose of the law. Absent this change, one of the essential
purposes of the Human Rights Law which is to eradicate discrimination
in education will continue to be frustrated and the newly created
disparity in protections between students who attend public schools
and students who attend private schools will persist.

Fiscal Implications: None to the State.

Effective Date: This bill would take effect immediately.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  4606

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             April 15, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  FLANAGAN  --  (at request of the Division of Human
  Rights) -- read twice and ordered printed,  and  when  printed  to  be
  committed to the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations

AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to unlawful discriminato-
  ry practices by educational institutions

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Section 292 of the executive law is amended by adding a new
subdivision 35 to read as follows:
  35. THE TERM "EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION", WHEN  USED  IN  THIS  ARTICLE,
SHALL MEAN:
  (A) ANY EDUCATION CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION WHICH HOLDS ITSELF OUT TO
THE  PUBLIC TO BE NON-SECTARIAN AND EXEMPT FROM TAXATION PURSUANT TO THE
PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE FOUR OF THE REAL PROPERTY TAX LAW; OR
  (B) ANY PUBLIC SCHOOL, INCLUDING ANY SCHOOL DISTRICT, BOARD OF COOPER-
ATIVE EDUCATION SERVICES, PUBLIC COLLEGE, OR PUBLIC UNIVERSITY.
  S 2. Subdivision 4 of section 296 of the executive law, as amended  by
chapter 106 of the laws of 2003, is amended to read as follows:
  4.  It  shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an [education
corporation or association which holds itself out to the  public  to  be
non-sectarian  and  exempt  from  taxation pursuant to the provisions of
article four of the real property tax law]  EDUCATIONAL  INSTITUTION  to
deny  the use of its facilities to any person otherwise qualified, or to
permit the harassment of any student or  applicant,  by  reason  of  his
race,  color, religion, disability, national origin, sexual orientation,
military status, sex, age or marital status, except that any such insti-
tution which establishes or maintains a policy of educating  persons  of
one sex exclusively may admit students of only one sex.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD08991-01-3

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