Chester has previously been accused of discriminating against the town’s Hasidic community. In 2018, then-Town Supervisor Alex Jamieson was caught on tape saying, “We need to keep the Hasidics out.”
The bill’s advancement through the legislature came even after a similar bill was vetoed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in November 2019 due to pending litigation.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the town for violating the Fair Housing Act, and an agreement was reached last year with Chester and Orange County to end the discriminatory practice.
Last year, Hochul vetoed a similar measure regarding Blooming Grove.
“Legislators bear the responsibility to examine, and veto if appropriate, proposed legislation prior to its enactment. They have a moral obligation to ensure that a proposed law will not have a discriminatory impact,” the RAA statement said. “The Rabbinical Alliance of America applauds Governor Hochul for stepping in where the legislature failed and preventing the discriminatory Community Preservation Fund for the Town of Chester Bill from becoming law. By doing so, Governor Hochul has averted a law that would have caused friction in the community and enabled interested parties to target the Hasidic community with discriminatory actions.”
Agudath Israel, which had requested the veto, tweeted its thanks to Hochul “for listening to our concerns, along with other advocates, and vetoing this bill. We will continue to oppose any and all measures that place artificial barriers on the growth of Orthodox communities in New York State.”