By KATE STEWART and ROBERT GOLDECKINEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The holidays are a blessing, but they can be frustrating.
On Friday, the New York City Council passed a bill that would allow businesses and government agencies to charge a one-time fee for services that are “essential” to the public.
The measure, which also bans private prayers and religious instruction, is the latest step by the City Council to ease restrictions that have long made the holiday season one of the most expensive in the country.
The bill passed the full City Council on Thursday.
The Council, which is also led by Mayor Bill de Blasio, has been criticized for the city’s treatment of Christians in recent years and has faced protests and boycotts in recent months.
The Council’s legislation, which comes as the country grapples with the fallout from the devastating hurricanes, is expected to face a vote by the full Council later this month.
In a letter to the City and State’s attorney general, Councilman David Greenfield, who introduced the legislation, said it was essential that businesses provide free or discounted meals and services to those in need.