The ever-vigilant Leslie Kaminoff pointed me towards a great update on the state’s Yoga Extortion Initiative:
Since the licensing battle with the Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision (BPSS) began in April, two pieces of legislation have popped up—both of which will have dramatically opposite effects on the future of teacher training for yoga studios.
One bill seeks to bolster the cash-strapped BPSS by raising application fees and increasing fines. Interestingly enough, the BPSS’s only source of revenue is generated from application fees and fines collected from vocational schools. According to Assemblymember Deborah Glick’s legislation, discussed below, only slightly over 450 schools are currently licensed. This, compounded with the fact that many private vocational schools around the state are closing due to the current recession, funding for the BPSS is getting very tight.
Call us crazy, but we have a hunch the new licensing requirements for yoga studios aren’t just a coincidence.
The second piece of legislation, on the other hand, seeks to deliver yoga from BPSS control by clarifying and changing the law to make yoga studios completely exempt from its purview.
Both bills seem to be resting for the time being – seemingly due to all of the hullabaloo going on in Albany. We think that means that this is prime time to get informed and start lobbying your local and state representatives.
(Emphasis mine. Read the whole article at YogaCityNYC.)
What’s interesting to me — who gets glassy-eyed at politics, who never makes it through the first section of the paper, who got her only C in Social Studies — is that these first bills will set an ideological precedent. If we agree that the state has the right to charge us even $5 for a license to train yoga teachers, we’re agreeing that the PRINCIPLE of charging us is correct — and thus they can later charge us $50,000 if they think that’s fair. I don’t think the state needs to regulate a creative field that has had no consumer complaints. Do I need a state license to train someone to teach Photoshop? Why is the state going to know best? [Thanks to Leslie for opening my eyes a little wider.]
If you want to learn more and get involved with this battle, mark your calendar for July 8th, 12:15 pm. That’s the next meeting of the minds. In the meantime, I’ll share some stuff I learned at a tech meetup this month:
Inspired by other tech-savvy politicians, the NY State Senate massively upgraded their website to be very interactive. You can comment on current legislation, watch live video of meetings, and even suggest bills yourself. The designers said that the office is indeed reading all suggestions, but of equal importance is the site analytics. They’re tracking which bills and issues we visit, and which pages we click before and after — so even if you don’t comment or suggest a bill, you can still show that an issue is important by searching, visiting and spending time on its pages. And, there are now links to each senator’s Twitter and Facebook pages, if they have them, so that you can better follow and communicate with your rep.
So. Take five seconds and visit the press release for Senator Schneiderman’s bill. Click “send to a friend” at the bottom. If you tweet, blog, and share that page, the Senate office will see its importance. Then, friend Senator Schneiderman on Facebook and tell him “Thanks!” for supporting yoga studios. You could even find and friend your local senator, and tell them to help protect your local yoga studios, too. Modern democracy!