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Immigrant driver's card bill heads to Senate

Apr 19, 2013 | 4 Comments


By LAUREN GAMBINO
Of the Associated Press

SALEM — More than 84,000 immigrants and others could take advantage of a program that would grant four-year Oregon driver's licenses to people who are unable to prove they are legally in the United States under a bill passed by a legislative budget committee on Friday.

The Joint Ways and Means Committee approved the bill 19-5, sending it to the Senate floor. A vote is expected early next week.

The proposal would allow immigrants, among others, who have lived in Oregon for at least a year and meet other requirements to apply for driver's licenses without proving legal presence. The card would be valid only for four years — half as long as a standard Oregon license — and could be used only for driving privileges. The card could not be used to vote, board a plane or purchase a firearm.

A driver's card would cost $64 and $44 to renew. A standard Oregon driver's license costs $60 and $40 to renew.

Lawmakers were told the licensing program, which would begin Jan. 1, 2014, is expected to pay for itself.

“Revenue from customers paying the fee is expected to cover the cost of implementation” and other costs, Amy Joyce, a legislative liaison for Oregon Department of Transportation, said in testimony Friday.

The nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office estimates the driver's card program will generate $5.3 million in revenue for the state in the budget year that ends June 30, 2015, and $2.7 million in the 2015-2017 budget year.

ODOT estimates the cost of implementing the program, including additional staff and operational costs, will be $4.7 million.

ODOT expects as many as 84,000 people to apply for the new driver's cards during the first nine months of the program, if the legislation is passed. The initial influx accounts for people who lost their licenses or let them expire because of a 2008 law that required driver's license applicants to prove U.S citizenship or lawful residency.

As many as 30,000 more immigrants and others who have never applied for an Oregon driver's license might also apply for a driver's card over a period of 18 months under the proposed licensing program, ODOT officials say.

Homeless people, elderly people or veterans, among others who have lost or never had a birth certificate would also qualify for a driver's card under the bill.

The bill has sparked controversy because it would extend driving privileges to immigrants who are not living in the country legally. Proponents of the bill say it will improve public safety, because more Oregon drivers would be trained and insured. Opponents say it's unfair to reward someone who is breaking the law with driving privileges.

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Comments

09:03 am - Sat, April 20 2013
Seabiscuit said:
Seems like a lot of cannon fodder flying here.

"Proponents of the bill say it will improve public safety, because more Oregon drivers would be trained and insured. "

Now, just exactly when did Oregon pass a law saying you had to carry insurance on your driver's license? Short answer is, they didn't.

And just where and when do you think they are going to get any more training than what they get now? This bill will maybe make money for the state, but that is about all it will do.
05:03 pm - Sat, April 20 2013
happy slap said:
Don't hire any additional personnel, just politely ask the illegal immigrants to please patiently wait until all whom are legal residents have been served and conducted their business first.

Their should be two types of 'customer service' numbers afforded/allocated in a DMV customer waiting area. No U.S. citizen should ever be required to take a place in line behind any illegal immigrant.

Just my opinion, I don't have any vote in the matter either way.
04:23 am - Sun, April 21 2013
troy prouty said:
The original idea on the bill was to make it easier for people to get their license. It seemed rather silly to not allow secondary proof of citzenship to get a drivers license and yet you could use a passport (which can be purchased with secondary proof of citzenship), in order to get a license. I introduced a bill that still required background checks with documentation. Bascially it was Washignton's, there was one or two adjustments in there (small one's).. Next thing I knew this stuff was handed to a group representing the mexican population .. and whamo... Now this comes out..

I think DMV does a poor job in State compared to other states, if the government would have kept up to improve their customer service maybe things would have been a little different as well.. so... Do I think the roads wil be safer? No... I think most illegal immigrants will avoid getting a license, because they run the risk of exposure. So from that point of view, I would say probably won't happen at the rate the government or these sponsors may wish. I think there is still enough documentation requirements that it won't hurt us for security purposes (hopefully).

troy*
08:00 am - Sun, April 21 2013
happy slap said:
Our Governor won't be back from his fact finding mission until April 28th, after which, he intends to share with us....
[ maybe we'll learn something from those people in a far away land ..or.. maybe we won't? ]

....how another group of citizens arrived at their 'happiness' quotient.

All I'd had to do to discover how those folks had gone about achieving this (was this) I went to wikipedia, and the folks at wikipedia state---> that those folks "....forced 1/5th of it's population to leave the country, in order to preserve it's culture and identity.' ...'Claiming that those expelled were illegal residents."

We'll have to wait another 7 days, though, in order to hear his 'spin' on that.

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