By Bob Katzen
The new law that would allow, starting July 1, 2023, undocumented/illegal immigrants to apply for a Massachusetts standard driver’s license is going to be on the November ballot for voters to decide whether to repeal it or leave it intact. “Fair and Secure Massachusetts,” the group spearheading the repeal campaign, submitted 71,883 voter signatures to get the question on the ballot, far more than the 40,120 signatures required.
The law would require an applicant for a driver’s license “without legal presence” in the United States to provide the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) with a foreign passport and at least one of five other documents: a driver’s license from another state, a foreign driver’s license, a birth certificate, a foreign national identification card or a marriage certificate or divorce decree from any U.S. state. The bill became law when the House and Senate on June 9 overrode Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of the bill.
Maureen Maloney, whose son Matthew Denice was killed by a drunk driver who did not have legal status in the United States, is the chair of the repeal campaign. She said that Massachusetts roads “will be much more unsafe” if the law takes effect. “Voters lined up to sign our petition, they voiced to us their reasons for opposing the law,” Maloney said.
A newly formed group, The Yes for Safer Roads Coalition, is spearheading the campaign to reject the repeal effort and keep the law intact. “This law is about more than just operating a motor vehicle,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, a member of the coalition. “It enhances safety on our roadways, but just as importantly it allows individuals to get to their work and medical appointments as well as to kids’ school and after school activities. That’s why I am proud to stand with the broad coalition of law enforcement colleagues, public health professionals, advocates and legislators who worked to pass this crucial law.”
2022 COASTSWEEP BEACH CLEANUP – The Baker Administration announced the kickoff of the 2022 COASTSWEEP beach cleanup program which runs through from September 17 to early November. Since 1987, thousands of volunteers have participated and removed hundreds of tons of marine debris and other trash from Massachusetts beaches, lakes, rivers and the seafloor. COASTSWEEP is part of the International Coastal Cleanup initiative that is organized by Ocean Conservancy and draws hundreds of thousands of volunteers to coastal cleanups in more than 150 countries worldwide. Volunteers also record data about what they find into Ocean Conservancy’s international marine debris database, where it helps researchers and policymakers better understand the sources of global marine debris and develop solutions for its prevention.
“Throughout the commonwealth are incredible beaches, waterfronts and shorelines that are enjoyed and appreciated by so many, and the COASTSWEEP program offers a great way for everyone to give back to these treasured natural resources,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “The Baker-Polito Administration encourages everyone to get out and get involved with a cleanup or gather some friends and organize your own this fall season.”
Volunteers can organize their own cleanup or volunteer at a scheduled cleanup. All supplies, including bags, gloves, data cards and pencils are provided free of charge. To join an existing cleanup or to organize one, go to https://www.mass.gov/service-details/coastsweep-cleanup-list or email email@example.com
POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME AWARENESS (H 3735) – The House approved and sent to the Senate a bill making September Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Awareness (POSA) Month. According to the Mayo Clinic website, POSA is a problem with hormones that happens during the reproductive years. “The exact cause of PCOS is unknown,” notes the website. “Early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss may lower the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.”
The bill was approved by the House on September 15, 2022, when half the month of September was already over. It still needs the initial approval of the Senate and another round of approval in both branches, as well as the governor’s signature as the month of September continues to roll on. It was originally filed 16 months ago on May 6, 2021 but September 2021 went by without passage of the bill.
Rep. Nika Elugardo (D-Boston), the sponsor of the bill, did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call to comment on her bill and explain why it has been stalled in the House for 18 months.