House OKs Immigrant Driver’s Licenses Bill

By The Associated Press

The Illinois House has approved legislation allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.

House lawmakers approved the bill 65 to 46. The measure now heads to Gov. Pat Quinn's desk, who has said he'll sign it.

Supporters of the bill that sailed through the state Senate have been bipartisan.

They call it a matter of public safety that will allow an estimated 250,000 immigrants of driving age in Illinois to get driver's licenses.

The licenses would not be used for identification purposes like to board a plane.

Anyone who applies will have to take driver's tests, prove Illinois residency and have a picture taken that would go into a state database.

Washington and New Mexico allow illegal immigrants to get licenses.

Urbana House Democrat and co-sponsor Naomi Jakobsson says she’s stayed in touch with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights over the bill the last couple of years.

She said the measure has led to some confusion.

"This is going to require people who get these temporary driver’s licenses to pass a drivers examination, just as anyone else does," she said.  "And that’s good, because that means they’re going to have to pay attention to the way they drive, and be ready to take that examination.  One of the really important things is that they have to have proof of liability insurance.”

Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) also supported the measure.

Reps. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), Chad Hays (R-Catlin), and Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) voted against the bill.  Republicans Jason Barickman of Champaign and Adam Brown of Decatur both had excused absences.

Story source: AP