Politicos Champion Lunar New Year Legislation in Chinatown

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Speaker Silver, Senator Squadron, U.S. Rep. Maloney, Wellington Chen with Assembly members Marcos Crespo and Felix Ortiz.

Local elected officials came to P.S. 124 on Division Street today to celebrate the passage in Albany of legislation making it easier for schools to declare a Lunar New Year holiday.  The bill is now headed to the governor’s desk after being approved by the Senate earlier this week and by the Assembly a few months ago.

Among those pushing for the legislation were Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Sen. Daniel Squadron.  Both of their districts include Chinatown.  During this year’s Lunar New Year holiday, they noted, P.S. 124’s absentee rate hovered around 60% They said that it wasn’t right to require parents to make an impossible choice between their child’s education and honoring their heritage.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney added that she hoped to push for similar legislation on the national level.

The legislation requires schools to weigh closing when a a “considerable proportion” of students would likely be absent due to the holiday.  Mayor de Blasio has expressed support in the past for the legislation.