By Bob Katzen
The House 119-36, Senate 32-8, gained the two-thirds vote necessary to override Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of legislation that would allow, starting July 1, 2023, undocumented/illegal immigrants to apply for a Massachusetts standard driver’s license.
The legislation requires an applicant “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.
Opponents of the bill gathered sufficient signatures to put the proposed law on the November ballot for voters to decide. Voters approved the law at the recent November election.
“This is a victory for all, making our roads safer and allowing the 185,000 immigrants without status the ability to earn a driver’s license,” said sponsor Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn). “No one should fear deportation over essential everyday tasks, such as getting to work, school, doctor’s appointment and grocery stores.”
“I cannot sign this legislation because it requires the Registry of Motor Vehicles to issue state credentials to people without the ability to verify their identity,” Baker had said in his veto message. “The Registry does not have the expertise or ability to verify the validity of many types of documents from other countries. The bill also fails to include any measures to distinguish standard Massachusetts driver’s licenses issued to persons who demonstrate lawful presence from those who don’t.”
(A “Yes” vote is for the bill. A “No” vote is against it.)
Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven Yes Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes