In response to numerous reports of abuse by so-called shaimos truck vendors who take money to bury seforim and articles but fail to do so, Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) will introduce legislation in the Senate imposing a civil penalty on shaimos truck operators who fail to properly bury the religious items. The bill will require those wishing to operate a shaimos truck to obtain a permit from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, and to provide advanced proof of access to a proper burial ground. Civil penalties range from a minimum of $1,000 up to $5,000.
“It’s time to bring an end to this unspeakable chillul Hashem,” said Senator Felder. “Every year we hear tragic stories of shaimos truck operators who willfully betray the public’s trust and desecrate G-d’s name. People who do the right thing in adherence of the Jewish law should not become the unwitting victims of nefarious and selfish individuals who seek to profit from the public’s good will. This legislation is intended to distinguish between honest and deceitful brokers.”
The provisions of the bill will require prospective operators to provide their legal name, address, and photo ID in order to obtain the permit. Applicants will be required to pay an administrative fee of $50. Permits must be posted in a conspicuous manner on the truck, and operators will also be required to provide customers with a printed receipt containing their permit number, name, address, and the amount paid. The legislation will apply to cities of one million or more.
Felder plans to circulate for sponsors when legislative session resumes after Pesach on April 23.