POLITICAL ARENA

Green Light bill expands licenses to immigrants

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There was a bit of excitement in Albany to kick off the week after the senate passed, for the first time, a bill designed to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in New York.

The measure, known as the Green Light bill, passed the Assembly last week by an 87-61 vote, and won approval by the senate on Monday.

“Today’s passage of the Green Light bill is not only important to the protection and empowerment of immigrant New Yorkers, it is necessary for our increasing public safety on our roads and growing our economy,” said state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, one of the co-sponsors of the senate bill, in a release. “This bill is not about immigration. This bill is about expanding access to driver’s licenses to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, to ensure that all drivers on the road are safely and properly licensed.”

As the unemployment rate continues to drop, industries in all sectors will be faced with struggles to secure labor, according to a published Assembly analysis of the bill. Not allowing undocumented people to have a driver’s license is having a negative effect on the economy by not allowing workers to get to and from their jobs, or to travel as part of their job.

The bill is designed to allow undocumented drivers not only to receive a license, but to protect any personal information they provide from “unwarranted release.”

Borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., said he has backed such a measure since his own time in the Assembly, and called its passage this week “an unqualified victory for the people of this state.”

“Not only will this legislation help make our roads safer,” Diaz said, in a release, “it will also help integrate immigrant New Yorkers more strongly with their communities while also providing them with increased economic opportunities.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law late Monday night.

 

Dinowitz preserves the freedom to Yelp

If someone wants to share their experience with a business online, they should have the right to do so. At least that’s what Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has proclaimed through the passage of a bill he’s called the “Right to Yelp.”

“The primary basis for our consumer marketplace is peer-to-peer recommendations on which businesses should be patronized, and which should be avoided,” Dinowitz said in a release. “It is absolutely ridiculous that a business would proactively want to prohibit these reviews, which can only seem to be explained by an intent to provide shoddy service.”

Some establishments required customers sign agreements prohibiting them from publicly sharing comments until a court case put a halt to that, Dinowitz said.

This bill, the Assemblyman added, would codify that ruling.

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