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North Hempstead Democrats approve bill supporting family leave

North Hempstead Councilwoman Anna Kaplan at North Hempstead

North Hempstead Councilwoman Anna Kaplan at North Hempstead Town Hall on June 25, 2015. Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

Calling it a “political stunt,” a North Hempstead councilwoman criticized a board colleague and candidate for Congress who proposed that the board support a state bill for paid family leave.

The proposal was a resolution — referred to as a “sense of the town” -- from Democrat Anna Kaplan of Kensington Village. It passed with 5 Democratic votes, while Republicans Dina De Giorgio and Angelo Ferrara abstained.

Kaplan is among several Democrats running to replace retiring Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington).

“The natural question is are you advocating for the Town of North Hempstead to provide paid medical leave to its employees?” De Giorgio said.

She asked Kaplan whether she would work with the town’s employees union to renegotiate their Collective Bargaining Agreement. “We don’t provide this benefit to our current town employees,” she said.

But Kaplan said, “we need to start with New York State and see where that goes.” She said “I resent what you’re saying” after De Giorgio called the town board proposal a “political stunt.”

Kaplan tweeted after the vote: “Proud to join in a long tradition of ‘political stunts’ like the Boston Tea Party and protests for women’s suffrage.”

Supervisor Judi Bosworth stepped in during the back and forth and said the town resolution was simply “a sense of support for paid family leave.” She voted for the resolution.

The plan, as pitched by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo earlier this year, would allow New Yorkers up to 12 weeks of leave from work at a maximum of two-thirds pay in order to care for newborns or sick relatives.

Southampton town board recently passed a similar proposal 3-0, with two council members abstaining.

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