Saturday, June 14, 2014

Inane Licensing Laws Immigrants And Small Businesses Face: Is Anything Other Than A Bureaucrat's Job Protected?

From The New York Times, "Selling Baubles on the Street: License Required" by Emily S Rueb:
She showed the officer the city-issued license belonging to her husband. “Husband come,” she told the officer, using the few English words she knew. But her husband was not there. So Ms. Yin, 48, was arrested and charged with selling without a license for about the 30th time in over a decade.

Ms. Yin’s husband, Chee Fei Cheng, has one of New York City’s coveted general vending licenses, of which there are only 853 available to nonveterans. When her husband had a stroke in 2000, Ms. Yin had to support their family on her own, but city laws said vendors could not let someone else sell under their licenses, not even a family member.

The couple and local officials wrote letters to the Department of Consumer Affairs asking to transfer the license to Ms. Yin. But the legal mechanism for a transfer had not been clear or utilized, and the waiting list for a license, with more than 1,800 names, has been closed since 1993. So for more than a decade, Ms. Yin has been repeatedly arrested, and has had to pay fines and clean parks and restrooms as punishment for selling without a license.

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