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CT House Approves Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

In a move that puts public safety ahead of party politics, the Connecticut House of Representatives approved a measure that would grant drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. Facing stark Republican opposition, Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) touted a bill that he explained in a press release would "make our roads and families safer, is good for the economy, and is the right thing to do."

After debating the measure for more than seven hours, it was finally passed 74 to 55 around 5:45 a.m. The application process would include a sworn affidavit to seek U.S. citizenship, among other provisions. Read House Speaker Brendan Sharkey's press release and an accompanying report from CTNJ below.

 

PRESS RELEASE FROM STATE HOUSE SPEAKER BRENDAN SHARKEY:

Amidst strong Republican opposition, legislation (HB6495) touted by Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) that would allow undocumented residents to get Connecticut drivers licenses was approved by the House of Representatives.

Sharkey said the measure will make our roads and families safer, is good for the economy, and is the right thing to do.

"There is a stark contrast here," Sharkey said. "There are 54,000 untrained, unlicensed, and uninsured drivers on our roads. We believe we should deal with this reality now, while those opposed  simply want another study. "

The purpose of a drivers license is to establish minimum qualifications and skill standards and make us all safer as we travel our state's roads. Drivers without a valid license are nearly three times more likely to cause a deadly crash.

"We are talking about people who contribute to our communities and our economy every day," Sharkey said. "They are our neighbors, our fellow taxpayers, and our friends."

Uninsured undocumented resident drivers in Connecticut are estimated to cost insured drivers about $20 million in annual uninsured motorist insurance premiums, while towns lose millions more in uncollectable property tax revenue on unregistered vehicles.

The bill, which now goes to the Senate for consideration, takes effect January 1, 2015.

 

CTNJ has the details on Wednesday night's marathon session at the State House of Represenatives.

Connecticut voters may not be ready, but that didn't stop the House from pushing forward with a vote on a bill that would give undocumented immigrants the ability to obtain a driver's license.

After more than seven hours of debate the House passed the measure 74 to 55 around 5:45 a.m.

For some it was an issue of public safety, for others it was an indication that the federal government needs to move faster toward comprehensive immigration reform.

[...]

The bill would give undocumented immigrants living in the state for more than 90 days the ability to apply for a driver's license. The application process would include a sworn affidavit to seek U.S. citizenship. If an individual was convicted of a felony in the state of Connecticut they would not be allowed to receive a license. The license would be renewed every three years as opposed to every six years for U.S. citizens.

 

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