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December 2007


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Bonita Weddle <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 21 Dec 2007 15:24:19 -0500
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The researcher may find some information in the bill jacket for the 1994  law mandating the inclusion of the Holocaust in the curriculum.  When a bill passes both houses of the Legislature, the Governor's Counsel's Office collects memoranda and letters discussing the pros and cons of the bil and bundles them with the text of the proposed legislation.  These are submitted to the Governor along with the proposed legislation for approval, veto, or recall. 

The materials found within a given bill jacket vary.  One might find a sponsor's memo justifying the lawmaker's introduction of the bill, counsels' statements, State agencies' official positions, study groups' comments, and letters from bar associations, lobbyists, corporations, advocacy groups, and individual citizens--or nothing at all.  The amount of material found in a given bill jacket tends to increase as the interval between passage and gubernatorial action increases, and controversial bills generally gather more comment than quotidian legislation.  Moreover, the Governor may sign or veto a bill the instant it is delivered to the Governor's Office, thus closing the window for comment.

The bill jacket is nonethless an excellent starting point--any letters of support drafted by individuals and organizations will be included in the jacket, and I expect that most if not all of the organizations are still in existence.  These groups should have records documenting their advocacy, and individual staffers may be also be willing to share their recollections.

The New York State Archives holds the original bill jackets, and the New York State Library and several other libraries throughout the state hold copies on microfilm.  For more information about the bill jackets and the libraries that hold copies, see http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/billjack.htm 

Bonita L. Weddle
Associate Archivist
Archival Services
New York State Archives
9D64 Cultural Education Center
Albany, NY 12230

>>> Arieh Lebowitz <[log in to unmask]> 12/20/2007 10:04 PM >>>
  I've just received this question.  Any assistance with resource material or pointers on whom to ask would be deeply appreciated.
  >> Arieh Lebowitz, Communications Director, Jewish Labor Committee
  "My daughter is writing her senior thesis on how holocaust education became mandated in New York State.  What she is looking for is the process, the people, groups or organizations that discussed and ultimately brought the pressure to bear to make the mandating of the teaching of the Holocaust a reality.  She has not gotten much help from the people from State Ed. (past and present) who I thought were the people in the know.  So, I am hoping you might be able to give me some direction that I can pass on to her."