By Ted Tripp
We have issued notices in the past about House bill H.2985, which attempts to give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. The Joint Committee on Transportation was supposed to report out on the bill by May 16, but nothing has happened. We believe your phone calls and e-mails against the bill had a lot to do with this. Thank you.
The problem with driver’s licenses is that Mass. is under the gun to come up with an enhanced secure license that conforms to the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. The deadline for this has been extended for us until this October, after which your current license will not be sufficient to let you into any federal building or even onto an airplane. Congress put this extra security in place after 9/11 when the hijackers who traveled from Maine to Boston and commandeered the planes were found to have over 20 phony ID’s in their possession. Mass. has been dragging its feet putting into place this enhanced system because a vocal minority wants driver’s licenses for illegal aliens.
Late last year Governor Baker offered a bill (H.3814) with a two-tier license system. One would offer the REAL ID compliant driver’s license to those who wanted it and the other would offer the same license we now have for those who supposedly would have trouble coming up with the additional requirements needed for the more secure license. Under the latter, illegal aliens would still not be eligible for the license. The Baker bill went nowhere.
Then, all of a sudden, while the House was working on the FY2017 budget in May, Rep. Brad Jones and other Republicans offered an amendment (#409) that mirrored Baker’s bill for the two-tier system. It passed. You can view it here: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H4200/Amendment/House/409/OriginalText. Several weeks later, Sen. Tarr offered a similar amendment (TRP 1129) to the Senate version of the budget, but Sen. McGee offered an amendment to Tarr’s amendment that essentially replaced Tarr’s language and presented new language (TRP 1129.1) which allows illegal aliens to get licenses under the two-tier system. McGee’s amendment prevailed. You can view the amendments here: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/Senate/S4/Amendment/Senate/1129/Text and https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/Senate/S4/Amendment/Senate/1129.1/FurtherText.
The budget is now in a 6-member conference committee consisting of four Democrats and two Republicans. It is imperative that we contact the committee members and politely ask them to adopt the House version of this driver’s license amendment, #409. Time is of the essence as the budget has to be finished quickly. Please contact the following as soon as possible:
Rep. Brian Dempsey – House Ways & Means Chairman 617-722-2380 Brian.Dempsey@mahouse.gov
Rep. Stephen Kulik – House Ways & Means Vice Chairman 617-722-2380 Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov
Rep. Todd Smola – House Ways & Means Ranking Republican 617-722-2380 Todd.Smola@mahouse.gov
Sen. Karen Spilka – Senate Ways & Means Chairman 617-722-1481 Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov
Sen. Sal DiDomenico – Senate Ways & Means Vice Chairman 617-722-1481 Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov
Sen. Vinny deMacedo – Senate Ways & Means Ranking Republican 617-722-1481 Vinny.deMacedo@masenate.gov
Jessica Vaughan also suggests we contact the governor’s office at 617-725-4005 to ask him to line-item veto the driver’s license amendment if the Senate version is adopted. When speaking with the above committee members, she suggests the following talking points:
- Allowing illegal aliens to receive licenses encourages illegal immigration, which is costly to the states. It enables illegal aliens to get jobs and access tax-payer funded services to which they are not entitled.
- Allowing illegal aliens to receive licenses compromises our security and degrades the license as a form of identity. The Registry will not be able to verify the identity of illegal aliens who apply for these documents.
- Allowing illegal aliens to get licenses will make it easier for the drug trafficking rings bringing heroin, fentanyl and other illegal narcotics into the Commonweealth. They need to drive to traffic and distribute their drugs.
- Prior efforts to do this have failed in the regular legislative process, because they lack support from the public and law enforcement agencies. This back-door attempt to slip it in a must-pass budget bill must be rejected.
5. Other states like California and New Mexico have not seen any improvement in traffic safety, insurance rates or public safety after doing this – the opposite is true as their states become magnets for criminal activity and more unqualified drivers take to the roads.
Let’s stop this foolishness once and for all. Call these conference committee members and ask them to adopt the House version of the amendment.