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With budget negotions in a bit of a tangle and new deals floated every day, one policy that hasn't recieved much attention is the DREAM Act that would give undocumented youth tuition assistance to attend college.
So far it seems that Speaker Sheldon Silver is fighting a losing battle to push for some sort of funding for the program to be included in the budget.
Sen. Jose Peralta has continually called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make The DREAM Act part of his budget and to lead on the issue but so far it hasn't worked.
Cuomo has been quiet on the issue and a spokesman told the Gazette last week that Cuomo supports the federal DREAM Act but is considering proposals on the state level.
The DREAM Act could be dealt with outside of the budget, but most insiders think that budget negotiations gives proponents the strongest hand to negotiate.
There is no budget deal to report as of this afternoon, but there are a few "tentative" ones the table — or at least floating around the halls of the Capitol.
The first deal would see the state's minimum wage incrementally increased to $9 an hour by 2016. That deal has some mainstream Senate Democrats rankled. Sen. Mike Gianaris told Susan Arbetter of The Capitol Pressroom that Senate Republicans who cut a deal with the Independent Democratic Conference have "outsize" influence in negotiations and that the deal is "half a loaf."
Sen. David Valesky of the Independent Democratic Conference responded in a statement accusing Gianaris of the "type of absolutism that prevented progress in the past."
Now there is word of a deal on marijuana laws. The New York City Council would be allowed to make possesion of small amounts of marijuana in public a ticketable offense rather than an arrestable offense under proposed legislation.
Some upstate legislators are upset that the measure would only impact New York City.