Deadline Passes for NYC School Churches

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Several representatives of New York City churches were headed to the state capitol in Albany Monday with a message for the state assembly.

They want members to approve the bill that would reverse a school district policy and give churches the same access to public schools as other groups.

The New York state Senate passed a bill last week that would trump the city's ban. To take effect, however, the state assembly must also approve the bill.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver called the Senate's proposal "seriously flawed," adding that "it would open up the schools to anybody. It might include the Ku Klux Klan."

In response, Assemblywoman Grace Meng , a co-sponsor of the legislation, told the New York Daily News that bills can always be revisited if lawmakers find the language too broad.

"Not all legislation is perfectly written," she said. "If there's something in the bill that could be used as a loophole for groups like the KKK, that's something we'd certainly be open to amending."

Even if the state assembly does pass the bill, the legislative process could take weeks, and the city has not budged on its Feb. 12 deadline.

Sunday was the last day the New York City congregations could hold worship services in public schools.

On Tuesday, they'll ask a federal judge to issue an injunction to allow the churches to continue renting space in the public schools.

"No matter what they do," Pastor Dalton Stephens, at Highview Baptist Chuch in Queens, told the newspaper. "The church will prevail."

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