Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on Friday vetoed a bill making immigrants without legal status eligible to apply for state-issued driver’s licenses, saying the Motor Vehicle Registry, an agency that he supervises, does not have the ability to verify the identity of potential candidates. .
After years of advocating for the bill, House and Senate Democrats on Thursday signed into law the legislation that supporters say will make roads safer by granting license access to many undocumented immigrants who already live across the state.
Republican opposition to the bill has been consistent throughout its run in the Legislative Assembly, and office holders and candidates at the GOP convention last weekend in Springfield have sporadically and pointedly voiced their opposition. to the proposal.
In his veto message, Baker said the legislation “significantly increases the risk of non-citizens being registered to vote,” a possibility that the bill’s supporters have denied. The governor said the bill “restricts the registry’s ability to share citizenship information with entities charged with ensuring that only citizens register and vote in our elections.”
A bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license has passed the Massachusetts Senate.
The bill authorized both branches with more than enough support to override Baker’s veto.
“Allowing parents to drive their children to school, to take them to the doctor or to be in charge of carpooling to take their children to football, all without fear that they will be separated if they are arrested, will allow children of undocumented immigrants to breathe a sigh of relief,” said the bill’s supporters, Sen. Adam Gomez, a Democrat from Springfield, earlier this month.
It will be up to the House to initiate a veto override, with a two-thirds vote required in each branch to make the bill into law.
The House voted 118-36 on Thursday to accept the conference committee’s report on the bill; the Senate vote was 32-8.
Under the bill (H 4805), expanded access to the standard driver’s license would begin July 1, 2023. Applicants under the bill would be required to provide proof of their identity, date of birth and residence in Massachusetts.
This breaking news will be updated.