Senate staffers were spotted among the hundreds of state employees who lined up at the curb for free ice cream outside the Capitol Wednesday.
On the last scheduled day of the legislative session, NYSUT took over the corner outside the Senate majority offices to send another loud and visible message to Majority Leader John Flanagan: Pass S.8301, the bill to fix teacher evaluations and relieve the standardized testing burden, unencumbered by deal-breaking attachments the Senate GOP wants to add.
“Nothing would be sweeter on the last day of session than passing S.8301 with no strings attached,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta, as he passed treats through the window of an ice cream truck. “Sen. Flanagan has the opportunity to put a cherry on top of this legislative session by passing a bipartisan bill sponsored by 55 senators, including three-quarters of the Senate Republican conference.”
NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango, working in a second truck nearby, also pushed the Popsicle puns.
“This shouldn’t be a Rocky Road,” she said. “The Senate majority should seize this opportunity to unfreeze students and teachers from the burden of standardized testing and pass S.8301 with no sprinkles — or strings — attached.”
Passersby paused as they heard the NYSUT officers, including Vice President Paul Pecorale and Secretary-Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham, hawk the product: “Free ice cream! No strings attached!” At times, the lines blocked the broad sidewalk on the State Street side of West Capitol Park.
Each prepackaged frozen treat was emblazoned with a sticker that said: “Pass S.8301. Let Us Teach, Let Them Learn.”
Pallotta said that, on the final day of the 2018 legislative session — with tensions running high and a late night expected — the free ice cream would hopefully spur Sen. Flanagan and the Senate majority to break the icejam and move the clean APPR bill before the session ends.