State Assembly Passes Bill That Would Require Officer to Prove Sabbath Violation

The State Assembly has passed a bill that would correct defects in the Fair Sabbath Law by placing the burden of proof for alleged Sabbath business violations on the police officer who makes the charge. The bill, sponsored by State Senator Jeremiah B. Bloom and Assemblyman Georga A. Cincotta, both Brooklyn Democrats, now goes to the Senate.

The bill is intended to eliminate-the necessity of a court appearance by a Sabbath observer charged with breaking the law. It requires the police officer to inquire whether the alleged violator is entitled to exemption for observing a day of rest other than Sunday before issuing a summons. It places the responsibility of “probable violation” on the policeman and not on the Sabbath observer to prove that he is entitled to exemption under the Fair Sabbath Law. The Bloom-Cincotta bill also spells out a day of rest other than Sunday which it defines as from sundown Friday to 45 minutes past sundown Saturday. Mr. Cincotta stated in presenting his bill, “We must continue to seek remedies for any existing conditions which restrict the free exercise of religious beliefs. Harassment because of observing religious beliefs and one’s faith is un-American and discriminatory.”

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