Frequent commentor, Sefardi Lady sent this letter from Mr. Elliot B. Pasik, Esq. urging us to email or NY State representatives regarding a bill that will allow New York yeshivas and other nonpublic schools to fingerprint their employees, and obtain their criminal histories.
I spoke to Rabbi Welcher last night and he strongly supports such legislation as does the Rabbinical Council of America, the Orthodox Union, and Agudath Israel. Please take 5 minutes to help make our schools safer for our children. Here is the letter from Mr. Pasik:
A bill that, if passed, will allow New York yeshivas and other nonpublic schools to fingerprint their employees, and obtain their criminal histories, if any, is extraordinarily close to either passage in both houses of the New York State Legislature, or, being delayed for at least another year.
The New York State Senate will vote on the bill Wednesday, June 21, 2006, and the bill is fully expected to pass, since it is supported by the leadership there.
Hopefully, the New York State Assembly will vote on the bill Thursday, June 22, 2006, the LAST DAY of this year’s Session. The Assembly situation is a little bit different, however. The sponsors there are Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach), and, most happily, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). However, I believe the bill has been sitting in the Assembly Codes Committee for a few days, where some of the Assembly members and/or their staff may be considering some minor amendments.
I thus believe we need to persuade Speaker Silver and his Assembly colleagues to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, where it will likely pass. Speaker Silver has been a long-time friend to our community, and that is why he is co-sponsoring the bill. The Legislature, in its last few days, has a full plate, to say the least, and we need to bring this situation to the Speaker’s attention, so this bill can become law.
1. NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: firstname.lastname@example.org;
2. NYS Assembly member Harvey Weisenberg: email@example.com;
3. NYS Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean Skelos: firstname.lastname@example.org;
4. Your own local Assembly member and State Senator – you can obtain their names and email addresses from the respective websites of the New York State Assembly and Senate.
I suggest the following language, which you can certainly personalize as you wish: “Please support the nonpublic school employee background check bill. Please bring the bill to a vote on the Assembly and Senate floors. The bill numbers are A. 11399 and S. 07381. Thank you for all the work you have done on this important measure.” You should give your name and address, or at least the city/town where you live.
As you may have read in the New York Jewish Week of June 9, 2006, p.10 (Friedlin, “State Mulls Background Check for Yeshivas”; you can read it on http://www.jewishweek.com/), the background check bill is supported by the Rabbinical Council of America, the Orthodox Union, and Agudath Israel. Privately, the New York State Catholic Conference has been participating in the drafting of the language, and implicitly supports it.
Can you please participate in what one gadol b’Torah described to me as a “tovah for klal Yisroel” by sending the emails described above, and forwarding this email to as many friends as possible. The Torah commands us, Lo sa’amod al dam ra’echa, Do not stand upon the blood of your friend. We need to secure our yeshivas to the fullest extent humanly possible. With our hishtadlus, we hope and pray that G-d will help, with siyata dishmaya. I humbly believe we should also daven for the passage of this important bill.
Very truly yours,
Elliot B. Pasik