Bill S641-2013

Expands definition of place of public accommodation

Expands definition of place of public accommodation, resort or amusement in relation to unlawful discriminatory practices.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S641

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to unlawful discriminatory practices

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To end discrimination because of race, creed, sex, color or national origin in institutions, clubs or places of accommodation that are granted licenses or tax exemption from the state or any of its political subdivisions.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Subdivision 9 of section 292 of the executive law, as amended by chapter 262 of the laws of 1994 is amended.

Under existing law "any institution, club or place of accommodation which is by its nature distinctly private" is excluded from the definition of "place of public accommodation" under the equality of opportunity provisions of the Human Rights Law. This bill clarifies the definition of "distinctly private" so that an institution which receives tax exemption or licensing from the government, which are public privileges rather than private rights, may no longer discriminate on the basis of race, creed, sex, color or national origin. The basic change is incorporated in subdivision 9 of Section 292. In two places, both in the definition of place of public accommodation and in the exclusions, the current language is modified.

If this bill is enacted, the jurisdiction of the State Division of Human Rights will extend to "institutions, clubs or places of accommodation which are the recipients of any form of abatement or exemption from taxes, in whole or in part, from the state or any of its political subdivisions." Similarly, private institutions, clubs or places of accommodation will be excluded from the provisions of the Human Rights Law only if they are not the beneficiaries of public licensing or tax exemption.

JUSTIFICATION: While private organizations were always exempt from the jurisdiction of the Division of Human Rights, it was never the intention of the law to grant such exclusion to organizations which receive public benefits.

Court cases have challenged the right of tax exempt fraternal organizations to practice discrimination in their membership policies. In addition, organizations which apply for liquor and other licenses are truly places of public accommodation rather than purely private facilities. Even under this proposed legislation, such organizations could continue to adhere to selective membership policies, provided they do not seek special privileges from government in the form of licensing or tax exemption. By enacting this law, the Legislature could sharpen the lines of distinction between private and public institutions, clubs or places of accommodation.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This legislation has been previously introduced.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of September next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 641 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. STAVISKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern- ment Operations AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to unlawful discriminato- ry practices THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 9 of section 292 of the executive law, as amended by chapter 262 of the laws of 1994, is amended to read as follows: 9. The term "place of public accommodation, resort or amusement" shall include, except as hereinafter specified, all places included in the meaning of such terms as: inns, taverns, road houses, hotels, motels, whether conducted for the entertainment of transient guests or for the accommodation of those seeking health, recreation or rest, or restau- rants, or eating houses, or any place where food is sold for consumption on the premises; buffets, saloons, barrooms, or any store, park or enclosure where spirituous or malt liquors are sold; ice cream parlors, confectionaries, soda fountains, and all stores where ice cream, ice and fruit preparations or their derivatives, or where beverages of any kind are retailed for consumption on the premises; wholesale and retail stores and establishments dealing with goods or services of any kind, dispensaries, clinics, hospitals, bath-houses, swimming pools, laundries and all other cleaning establishments, barber shops, beauty parlors, theatres, motion picture houses, airdromes, roof gardens, music halls, race courses, skating rinks, amusement and recreation parks, trailer camps, resort camps, fairs, bowling alleys, golf courses, gymnasiums, shooting galleries, billiard and pool parlors; garages, all public conveyances operated on land or water or in the air, as well as the stations and terminals thereof; travel or tour advisory services, agen-
cies or bureaus; public halls and public elevators of buildings and structures occupied by two or more tenants, or by the owner and one or more tenants; INSTITUTIONS, CLUBS OR PLACES OF ACCOMMODATION WHICH ARE LICENSED BY THE STATE OR ANY OF ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS, OR ARE THE RECIPIENTS OF ANY FORM OF ABATEMENT OR EXEMPTION FROM TAXES, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, FROM THE STATE OR ANY OF ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS. Such term shall not include public libraries, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, high schools, academies, colleges and universities, extension courses, and all educational institutions under the supervision of the regents of the state of New York; any such public library, kindergarten, primary and secondary school, academy, college, university, professional school, extension course or other education facility, supported in whole or in part by public funds or by contributions solicited from the gener- al public; or any institution, club or place of accommodation which proves that it is in its nature distinctly private. In no event shall an institution, club or place of accommodation be considered in its nature distinctly private if it has more than one hundred members, provides regular meal service and regularly receives payment for dues, fees, use of space, facilities, services, meals or beverages directly or indirect- ly from or on behalf of a nonmember for the furtherance of trade or business. An institution, club, or place of accommodation which is not deemed distinctly private pursuant to this subdivision may nevertheless apply such selective criteria as it chooses in the use of its facili- ties, in evaluating applicants for membership and in the conduct of its activities, so long as such selective criteria do not constitute discri- minatory practices under this article or any other provision of law. For the purposes of this section, a corporation incorporated under the benevolent orders law or described in the benevolent orders law but formed under any other law of this state or a religious corporation incorporated under the education law or the religious corporations law shall be deemed to be in its nature distinctly private AND IS NOT LICENSED BY THE STATE OR ANY OF ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS AND IS NOT THE RECIPIENT OF ANY FORM OF ABATEMENT OR EXEMPTION FROM TAXES, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, FROM THE STATE OR ANY OF ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS. No institution, club, organization or place of accommodation which sponsors or conducts any amateur athletic contest or sparring exhibition and advertises or bills such contest or exhibition as a New York state championship contest or uses the words "New York state" in its announce- ments shall be deemed a private exhibition within the meaning of this section. S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of September next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.

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