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New York Legislature Urged to Reject Bill to Repeal Blaine Amendment

The American Jewish Congress today urged the New York State Assembly to “reject and repudiate” a bill adopted by the State Senate in Albany last night which would repeal the Blaine Amendment in New York’s constitution barring state aid to parochial schools. The Senate passed the bill by a 35 to 17 vote. Before repeal can be effected, however, the measure must be approved by the Assembly at this session, by both houses at the next legislative session and by the voters in a state-wide referendum.

In a statement Issued here today, Stanley Geller, chairman of the Church-State Commission of the New York Metropolitan Council of the AJC, declared that “we deeply regret the action of the State Senate in re-opening the inter-religious battle that was fought in the campaign to repeal the Blaine Amendment by means of a new New York State constitution. Though the voters unanimously rejected that constitution, the Republican leadership has seen fit to try again.”

Legislators in Albany today saw little chance of the Assembly acting on the new bill this year. The bill was introduced by Senator Eari W. Brydges, majority leader of the Republican-controlled Senate.

Mr. Geller noted in his statement that the Senate’s action was “particularly regretable because the battle could have been avoided by waiting for the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court on two major church-state cases which may well determine the constitutionality of public funds for parochial schools.” One of the cases involves a state law under which textbooks are loaned to non-public schools.

Mr. Geller said that “the unseemly haste of the State Senate in attacking the separation provisions of the State constitution will, we trust, be rejected and repudiated by the Assembly in either defeating or refusing to take action on the Assembly version of the Brydges bill.”

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