On Thursday, April 11, Progressive Caucus Members Margaret S. Chin and Carlos Menchaca rallied with street food vendors, transportation, and immigrant rights advocates to mark the hearing of legislation that would reform existing food vendor law.
Intro 1116-A, introduced by Council Members Chin and Menchaca and supported by the Progressive Caucus through its 2018-2021 legislative agenda, would expand the availability of food vendor permits, create an office of food vendor enforcement, and establish a food vendor advisory board. The historic reform bill aims to bring increased opportunities, fairness, and consistent enforcement to a chaotic system created by a decades-old cap on the number of food vendors, which has forced many vendors to turn to an expensive and exploitative underground market for licenses. The system has not been reformed since 1983.
Supported by advocacy groups such as the Street Vendor Project, Asian American Federation, Transportation Alternatives, Biking Public Project, Queens Neighborhood United, Institute for Justice, Business Center for New Americans, Food Chain Workers Alliance, and the New York Immigration Coalition, the bill will deliver desperately-needed economic justice to immigrant entrepreneurs who are working hard every day to support themselves, their families, and their loved ones.
“The time has come to reform a broken system that negatively impacts vendors, their families and surrounding communities,” said Council Member Chin, Member of the Progressive Caucus, Sponsor of Intro 1116-A. “For too long, hardworking vendors have been victimized by a thriving black market for licenses. And too many communities have seen the chaos on our streets caused by ineffective vendor enforcement. Through this legislative process, we have an opportunity to make this system work better for everyone – including our vendors, many of whom are immigrants looking to create a better life for themselves and their families. Thank you to my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus for supporting this bill and pushing it through the Caucus’ legislative agenda.”
“Vendors are a vital and indispensable part of our economy, and more largely, of our City’s landscape,” said Council Member Menchaca, Vice-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, Chair of the Committee on Immigration, Co-Sponsor of Intro 1116-A. “Yet they are subject to an arbitrary and broken regulatory system that is unfair to everyone. Add to this the fact that most vendors are immigrants, and it’s clear that we are dealing with an economic and immigrant justice issue of the highest order. But there is a solution and we are at a pivotal moment. With Int. 1116-A, we can establish more clarity for all stakeholders while ensuring that vending continues to be a key entry point into the City’s economy. This legislation is a long time coming, and I am proud to stand with my colleagues in the Council, including the Progressive Caucus, advocates, and vendors in calling for these reforms.”