New York State School Boards Association

Advocacy Update: Changes Enacted that Eliminate Religious Exemptions from Required Vaccinations

June 17, 2019

Legislation supported by NYSSBA passed both houses of the legislature and was signed by the Governor that eliminates religious exemptions from having required vaccinations as a condition of attending school.  This new law took effect upon the Governor's signature.

The Governor's office is working with the State Education Department and the State Health Department to provide expedited guidance to school districts as quickly as possible. However, the Governor's office, in consultation with the Health Department, has offered assurances that students with existing exemptions will be able to finish out the school year and complete their Regents exams. NYSSBA Governmental Relations will share further guidance as soon as it is available.

Call to Action

2019 End of Session Update

Only three scheduled session days remain in the 2019 Legislative Session. Three key bills are listed below which still need your immediate attention! Please reach out to your elected officials and weigh-in on these proposals and let NYSSBA Governmental Relations know about your conversations. If you need assistance identifying your state legislators, please contact Belinda Heckler, Governmental Relations Representative and Grassroots Advocacy Manager at 518-783-3742 or


Assembly Operator: 518-455-4100

Senate Operator: 518-455-2800


  1. Independent Hearing Officers for Civil Service Employee Disciplinary Hearings

Legislation has been introduced (S.5205 (Gounardes)/A.7624 (Abbate)) and reported by the Senate Civil Service and Pensions Committee that would require that employers, including school districts, use an independent hearing officer and adhere to the decision of the hearing officer in all disciplinary matters  involving their civil service employees covered by section 75. Districts would also be prohibited from placing employees awaiting hearing on unpaid suspension, even in cases of misconduct. NYSSBA opposes this legislation as a costly and time-consuming new mandate on school districts, establishing a 3020-a like process for all employees.   Legislators need to hear from you about why action is necessary!

  1. Reform the Paid Leave for Voting Mandate

Legislation has been introduced that would restore the qualifier that only those school district employees who do not have 4 hours off of work while the polls are open are eligible to take up to three hours of paid leave to vote in all elections overseen by the Board of Elections. 

NYSSBA supports this proposal due to reports of concern about how widespread utilization of this state mandated leave would affect your district operations on the upcoming primary day, which falls during Regents exam week. However, this bill has not advanced from committee in either house. Legislators need to hear from you about why action is necessary!

  1. Workplace Violence Prevention

Legislation has been introduced and reported by the Senate Labor Committee that would require school districts to establish workplace violence prevention plans and submit them to the State Department of Labor. In the event that there is an incident, this legislation would create a mechanism for the employee to file a complaint with the Department of Labor, which could then inspect and investigate.

The requirements of this proposal are substantially achieved in existing Education Law through requirements to establish codes of conduct, district safety plans and building level emergency response plans. If enacted, this proposal would require a duplicative safety plan, and would provide DOL with the authority to inspect and investigate incidents in school buildings.

NYSSBA opposes this proposal because of the duplicative nature of the proposal.  We also have concerns about granting DOL authority to investigate incidents that may involve students.

NYSSBA Resolutions Deadline

The deadline to submit proposed resolutions and bylaw amendments is fast approaching. Districts wishing to submit a resolution or bylaw amendment can use the 2019 Resolution Kit, linked below, as a guide and resource.

All proposed resolutions and bylaw amendments must be received at NYSSBA headquarters no later than the close of business on Friday, July 19, 2019. Information on other key dates, as well as the results of the 2019 Resolutions Survey, is included in the kit. Please consider reviewing this information with your colleagues at your next board meeting and consider submitting resolutions of importance to your board.

If you have any questions about the resolutions process or the survey, you should also feel free to reach out to NYSSBA staff at any time. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Danielle Grasso at or 518-783-3734.

NYSSBA Position Statement Update

Participation in the Resolutions process is important, as it helps to shape NYSSBA's priorities and agenda. In 2018, the delegates adopted a resolution that directed the Association to support legislation that would increase the salary retired police and law enforcement could earn before facing a penalty against their pensions. Last week, a bill passed both houses of the legislature that would increase that salary limitation from $30,000 to $35,000. If signed by the Governor, this would represent the enactment of another NYSSBA goal, set directly by the delegates through the Resolutions process.

NYSSBA supports legislation that would substantially increase the earning limitations for retired police and other law enforcement officers who are serving as school resource or safety officers. (2018)

NYSSBA's Governmental Relations team will continue to report on these and other issues. For more information, visit our Key Issues Page

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