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N.Y. State Senate Approves Bill for Textbcoks to Religious Schools

The New York State Senate overwhelmingly approved today by a vote of 50 to 7 a bill previously approved by the Assembly to allow school boards in the state to provide textbooks to students of private and religious schools. The measure has split Jewish organizations. The measure was sent to Gov. Rockefeller who is expected to sign it into law shortly.

The American Jewish Congress, which opposed the measure before the Assembly, said today that if it is signed into law, as expected, it will seek an early court test of the measure. The organization called it a “flagrant” violation of the state constitution because it allegedly breaches the principle barring state aid to religious schools.

Supporters of the measure, who included a number of Orthodox Jewish groups which sponsor a network of Jewish day schools attended by 41,000 pupils in New York State, contended that the measure does not violate the constitution because the textbooks would be loaned to students, not to schools.

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