Assembly committee approves drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants |

Assembly committee approves drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants

The legislation designed to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses is now just a step from final legislative approval.

Senate Bill 303 by Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, was approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee on Saturday. Ways and Means Chairwoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, said the only hang-up appears to be the $1.6 million fiscal note which will probably send the bill to her committee for review.

Assembly Republicans Cresent Hardy, of Mesquite, John Hambrick, of Las Vegas, and Jim Wheeler, of Minden, all expressed reservations. Hardy specifically asked whether the system recording the so-called driver authorization cards could be used for purposes not contemplated.

Assemblyman David Bobzien, D-Reno, said the data would be mingled with regular drivers’ license records to ensure that no one was getting both a regular license and an authorization card. The bill specifically bars use of the authorization cards for other purposes such as registering to vote.

Those seeking the cards would have to submit proof of residency and their identity. They also would have to renew the cards each year.

The law also prohibits the release of any information about cardholders to entities such as federal immigration officials.

Worst case scenario, Carlton said, she would have to find $1.6 million to cover the Department of Motor Vehicles costs. She said the fiscal note may have been taken care of when the measure passed out of the Senate. If not, she said, other decisions have freed up several million in highway funding.