St. Patrick's Day could become school holiday

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's Senate has voted to make St. Patrick's Day a school holiday in New York City.

If enacted, it would take effect March 17 next year. A companion Assembly bill has one sponsor so far.

Sen. Tony Avella says he introduced the bill after a constituent, a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, approached him.

The Queens Democrat says lawmakers set the precedent two years ago, authorizing schools to designate the Chinese Lunar New Year as a holiday when observances would keep most students home.

He notes New York has many Irish-Americans, and the Saint Patrick's Day Parade has been held annually since 1762.

While Avella's ancestry is Italian, he says his wife comes from a big Irish family.

On St. Patrick's Day, he says, "Everybody is Irish."

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