Someone Else Hits the Phones!

News

It’s always fun to see other groups hit the phones for a legislative initiative. 

While it is kind of old-fashioned, blitzing the phone lines is a tried-and-true strategy for making sure legislative staffers know that you’re out there and you care on a given subject.

But it’s not just huge civil rights issues (*cough* New Yorkers for Marriage Equality *cough*) or (in the case of The Right) guns and abortion that get the phone line treatment.  Sometimes it’s something as simple as defending your local yogi from regulations, fees, and licensing requirements!  From Treehugger:

Yoga is soothing for the mind, body and soul–so too is it sustainable when it comes to low-carbon exercise. No high-tech gear, gadgets or electricity required.  Shouldn’t such a good, green thing be accessible to its students and teachers? I certainly think so. The state of New York seems to differ. They’re threatening to make being a yoga instructor or studio owner challenging with lengthy forms, tests and licensure procedures, in addition to expensive license renewals.

They go on to tell readers to phone in their support of bill S5701A to members of the state senate’s Higher Education committee, which will be dealing with the bill tomorrow.  From NYSenate.gov,’s Open Legislation site, here’s how the Senate summarizes the problem:

Recently the Board of Proprietary Schools released a letter instructing certain schools to cease student training requiring licensure as per S5001(1) of the Education Law. However, Sec. 5001(1) of the Education Law merely pertains to the licensure of trade, business, or computer training facilities. The letters were sent to yoga schools which do not fall under Sec. 5001(1) and are exempted from licensure under Section 5001(2)(f).  … The intent of the Board of Proprietary Schools was to mandate licensure for yoga schools who are teaching students to become instructors. … These amendments to the relevant sections of the Education Law clarify these pre-existing exemptions and permit yoga schools and other schools operating for the purpose of leisure, hobby, or personal enrichment to continue to function, protecting small businesses across NY State. (Emphasis added)

So what this looks like it’s really about is a state licensing board getting grabby and trying to force yoga studios and other small businesses into a licensing scheme that wasn’t supposed to apply to them in the first place.  The bill’s prime sponsor is the (awesome) Eric Schneiderman, who might be running for Attorney General this cycle.