Espada Set to Argue Merits of DREAM Act on Senate Floor Tomorrow

Pedro Espada, Jr.

March 09, 2009

State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. (D-Bronx) has introduced a bill that would amend the alcoholic beverage control law to allow liquor stores to sell peanuts, cheese, crackers, olives and other snacks, condiments and food items associated with the consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages.

Espada said the bill could boost sales revenue for liquor stores and sales tax for the State.

"The financial crisis has people going back to basics for weekend entertainment — renting a movie and buying a bottle of wine. This legislation would allow liquor retailers to offer their customers a one-stop-shop opportunity — the ability to purchase under one roof a bottle of wine, wedge of cheese, jar of olives, box of crackers and can of peanuts," Espada said.

"More importantly, this would create a new sales revenue stream for liquor retailers and generate new sales tax revenue for the State during these difficult economic times," Espada added.

In addition, the proposed bill, S2994, would amend the alcoholic beverage control law to allow liquor store owners to register three retail outlets under one license. They are currently limited to one liquor store per license. Espada said this would allow wine and liquor merchants the opportunity to expand to other locations.

"These small businesses and entrepreneurs are the backbone of the State’s economic engine, especially in bad times. They provide jobs to local residents and they fuel local economies. We need to provide every advantage to help them thrive and expand," Espada said. Bronx State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. will argue the merits of proposed congressional legislation that would help thousands of Hispanic and other immigrant students earn conditional permanent residency in the U.S.

Espada will introduce a resolution in the Senate tomorrow (Tues., March 10) that calls on the New York congressional delegation to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2007, better known as the DREAM Act.

"This is important to the Hispanic population, the fastest growing not only in New York City and State but around the country, as well as to all immigrant students because it will pave the way to permanent residency for those who came here as children. It will also make financial assistance opportunities available to Hispanic students who attend City and State institutions of higher education," Espada said.

He is hopeful that strong support of his resolution will move the New York congressional delegation to push for the bill that has languished in Congress for the past two years. Several versions of the bill have been introduced in both the Senate (as the "DREAM Act") and House (as the "American DREAM Act").

The legislation would authorize the Department of Homeland Security to cancel the removal of aliens who entered the U.S. as children prior to their sixteenth birthday, have been in the country for at least five years immediately preceding enactment of this legislation, graduated from an American high school and are of good moral character.

The students would have a six-year period during which to earn a two-year community college degree, complete at least two years toward a four-year degree, or serve two years in the U.S. military. After completing one of these three conditions, they would be eligible to apply for legal permanent residency status.

Espada’s support of the DREAM Act is consistent with his position on immigration issues when he served in the State Senate several years ago. In 2002, Espada proposed legislation that was signed into law allowing children of undocumented citizens to receive SUNY and CUNY tuition rates in order to provide access to higher education opportunities that otherwise would not have been available.