Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) expressed his disappointment with the NYS Assembly’s passage of the East Ramapo Monitor Bill this afternoon, which he called “a sad day for Democracy.” Hikind delivered an impassioned speech to his colleagues from the floor of the Assembly, prior to casting his vote, where he made it clear that the bill is unprecedented and is unfairly targeting Hassidic Jews rather than addressing the real issue—the community’s lack of sufficient funding for its public schools.
“In my 32 years in office, I’ve never heard anyone suggest getting rid of a school board’s rights,” Hikind said on the Assembly floor. “If this school board has done anything wrong, anything illegal, then bring in the Attorney General. But that’s not the issue.
“This school district lacks funds. They are being cheated. So instead of addressing that, the people who are unhappy because certain non-mandated programs have been eliminated have made this a racial issue. They talk about the Jews and ‘the block vote.’
“The East Ramapo Monitor Bill establishes a very dangerous precedent. A monitor who has the ability to overturn decisions made by a duly elected board is clearly unfair. If an appointed monitor can make decisions for the East Ramapo school district, then other appointed monitors can do the same in other districts. Where does it end? There will be no point in even electing a school board anymore—those elected members will become a board of advisers as the appointed monitor becomes a dictator. We eliminate the democratic process.”
Hikind vowed to continue working in the legislature, where the State Senate has not yet voted, to prevent the clearly biased bill from becoming law.
“With G-d’s help, I’m confident that this will not become law,” he said.
Note: The Assembly vote was 80 to 56 (76 were required to pass).
Video of Assemblyman Hikind speaking on the Assembly Floor (Part 1) can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Video of Assemblyman Hikind speaking on the Assembly Floor (Part 2) can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?