New York Speaker wants Dream Act passed this year

albany state capitol legislature

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Laying out his priorities for the final month of the legislative session, New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver wants lawmakers to accelerate increases to the minimum wage and pass the Dream Act.

“We don’t want to wait until next year,” the Manhattan Democrat said of the Dream Act, which would extend state financial aid to students in the country illegally.

The Dream Act narrowly failed in the state Senate earlier this year and it was left out of the budget agreement crafted by legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. But advocates — including Cuomo — have vowed to keep trying.

The measure would cost an estimated $25 million and benefit 8,300 students in the City University of New York and State University of New York systems.

Silver also supports legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage from $8 per hour to $9 at the end of 2014. It would then go up automatically based on inflation.

Under current law, the wage is set to rise to $8.75 at the end of this year and to $9 at the end of 2015.

“There are a number of things we’re going to still deal with before we close” the session, Silver said Monday. Lawmakers are set to adjourn on June 19.

Silver said he still supports implementing a broad public financing law for statewide campaigns. Earlier this year, lawmakers created a pilot public financing system that applies only to the comptroller’s race.

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