Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Illinois Governor Quinn To Sign Bill Allowing Non-citizens To Apply For State Driver Licenses

A bipartisan bill was passed by the Illinois House of Representatives allowing more than 250,000 of non-citizens to become eligible for state driver licenses.

By H. Nelson Gooson
January 9, 2013

Springfield, Illinois - On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of Illinois state legislators in the House of Representatives on a margin of 65-46 passed a state license bill to allow non-citizens to become eligible for driver licenses. In December, a similar bill was passed by the state senate and Governor Pat Quinn confirmed, that he will sign the bill into law, once it reaches his desk.
The driver license bill will grant more than 250,000 of non-citizens in the state of Illinois eligibility to apply for licenses. Non-citizens would have to provide proof (copy) of a one year state residency by providing a lease, a utility bill(s) or other documentation. Temperary Visitor Licenses offered to tourists legally in the U.S. will also be available to non-citizens and they can be renewed every three years, but won't be valid as an ID to board a plane, buying a gun or voting purposes.
Both state House Speaker, Michael Madigan (D) and state Senate President John Cullerton (D) supported the measure to allow non-citizens to apply for license. Also, Governor Quinn (D) and Chicago Mayor Rahn Emanuel (D), including former Republican Governor Jim Edgan and State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka (D) supported the measure to grant licenses to non-citizens.
Last November's surge of Hispanic voters in Illinois gave a majority to Democrats in state government. Some Republicans in the legislature har also joined Democrats in a bipartisan push to pass a measure allowing non-citizens to get licenses.
The Illinois Highway Safety Coalition reported that an estimated 80,000 accidents per year are caused by unlicensed and uninsured drivers. The total accident costs have reached about $650 million in damages, including $64 million in damages caused by non-citizens driving without licenses, according to the Saftey Coalition.
Illinois will join both the state of Washington and New Mexico in granting licenses for non-citizens.
On January 1, 2013, California granted driver licenses to immigrants with a federal work permit.

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