NY Speaker pushes for minimum wage hike, Dream Act


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By DAVID KLEPPER

— New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver renewed his push to increase the minimum wage and pass the Dream Act on June 11 as state legislators worked to finish their work for the year.

The two measures are among hundreds of pieces of legislation that remain in play in the final weeks of the session. They enjoy broad support in the Assembly but face big hurdles in the Senate. The Senate's Republican leader has said he doesn't expect the Senate to consider any contentious, high-profile bills before adjourning, but Silver said he remains hopeful.

“There's always a chance," the Manhattan Democrat told reporters.

The minimum wage proposal would raise the wage to $10.10 per hour and allow cities like New York City to impose a local minimum wage that's up to 30 percent higher. The bill has the backing of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The state's minimum wage is currently $8 an hour and is to increase to $9 at the end of 2015. Business groups have opposed increases, saying they could lead to fewer jobs and higher prices.

The Dream Act would extend state financial aid to students who are in the country illegally. The measure has passed the Assembly twice and was defeated in the Senate once.

“It's something that we owe to young people in this state: opportunity," Silver said.

Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said last week that “the more controversial" topics sought by liberals wouldn't be brought up this year.

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