Four of the five New York Democratic State Senators who co-sponsored S6141d, our bill to end school districts’ authority to deny religious exemptions from vaccine mandates to attend school, were defeated in the primary election held yesterday.
The four had all been members of the former Independent Democratic Conference, a now defunct breakaway group who shared power with the Republican majority in the Senate that rejoined the mainline Democrats earlier this year.
Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx, Marisol Alcantara of Upper Manhattan, Jesse Hamilton of Central Brooklyn, and Tony Avella of Queens all went down to defeat. That leaves only one Democratic State Senator as a cosponsor on the bill, Sen. Luis Sepulveda of the Bronx. State Senator Martin Malave Dilan of Bushwick, who had sponsored philosophical exemptions bills in the past, was also defeated by a primary challenger.
At this point, we do not know what the positions of the new Senators are on exemption issues in general, or this bill in particular. We will share that information with you when it becomes known.
Please make it possible for the Autism Action Network to continue to fight for your religious exemption rights, and issues important to you and your family, by supporting our team in the Autism Community Walk and Resource Fair scheduled for October 20 in Belmont State Park in Babylon, NY, here:
We almost got S6141d passed in the Senate this spring, S6141d was voted out of the Senate Education Committee, which in the culture of the New York State Senate meant that it was going to go to the floor and the Republican majority had the votes to guarantee it passed. Then in May, Senator Thomas Croci abruptly quit the Senate, which created a 31-31 tie between Democrats and Republicans, and all voting on anything slightly controversial came to an abrupt halt. S6141d never made it to the floor.
When the general election for all statewide and legislative offices rolls around on November 6 your votes will be crucially important, and it will be imperative that you support candidates of any party who are willing to co-sponsor and support our bills. We intend to keep you fully informed of where the candidates stand on the religious exemption issue and other issues of importance to our community.
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