Senate Approves Legislation to Allow All Persons to Apply for Driver’s Licenses
Trenton – Legislation that would create a two-category system for New Jersey issued licenses and identification cards passed the Senate today.
The bill, S-3229/A-4743, was sponsored by Senator Joseph Vitale, Senate President Pro Tempore M. Teresa Ruiz, Senator Nilsa Cruz- Perez and Chair of the Hispanic Legislative Caucus Senator Nellie Pou.
The two categories of basic driver’s licenses, motorcycle licenses, probationary licenses, and non-driver identification cards are as follows:
1) Standard License: would require proof of residency in New Jersey, proof of age, and their social security number. If the individual does not have a social security number, the bill would permit them to submit their individual Tax Identification Number (“ITIN”), or indicate that they are ineligible for a social security number in a manner prescribed the Motor Vehicle Commission (“MVC”).
2) REAL ID License: would require proof of residency in New Jersey, proof of age, proof of the applicant’s social security number and proof that the applicant’s presence in the United States is authorized under federal law. Most significantly, a REAL ID license would comply with the federal “REAL ID Act of 2005” (“REAL ID Act”). The REAL ID Act requires applicants to submit more documentation than is currently required to obtain a driver’s license in New Jersey. New Jersey driver’s licenses would be required to meet the requirements set by the Act to be accepted for any federal “official purpose,” such as accessing federal government facilities or boarding domestic flights. The federal Act also requires the MVC to store copies or scanned images of the personal documents applicants submit for a period of 7-10 years.
“Everyone benefits from safer roads,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). “When more people are able to be trained, tested and buy insurance, it reduces risk for everyone. This bill is not only the right thing to do for our residents, it is the responsible thing to do for our state.”
“This legislation is going to be life changing for thousands of families across New Jersey. It is incredible to imagine the impact it will have on the 168,000 children with undocumented parents and over 400,000 undocumented immigrants of driving age. These are mothers and fathers striving to make a better life for their children. It is extremely difficult to navigate this state without a car and like every New Jerseyan, they have jobs to get to, children to drop off at school and lives to live,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Not only will this bill make our roads safer, it will also positively impact our economy and workforce. Other states that have approved similar legislation have seen a significant decrease in car insurance premiums and hit-and-run accidents. We expect to see the same here.”
“This legislation breaks down barriers that are holding back hardworking men and women trying to ensure their family’s financial security and provide opportunities to their children that were not afforded to them,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Getting behind the wheel is a privilege that is often assumed in the commonality of our daily lives, but for the undocumented community residing in New Jersey, access to the roadways offers is a path to new opportunities and an improved quality of life. This legislation will be transformative for families across the state.”
“This is a historic day, and I grateful to everyone who has advocated and fought for this legislation, without their dedication, persistence and patience this would never have become a reality. Not only will this make our roadways safer, it is going to immediately impact the quality of life of over half a million tax paying and contributing residents of our state,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Through this legislation and regulatory approach, we will make our roads safer and boost our economy but more importantly, we will provide for a fair mechanism to empowering all communities here in New Jersey. I look forward to the Governor signing this bill into law.”
Under the bill, any documents and personal information obtained by the MVC from an applicant for a standard license or identification card is confidential and is not to be considered a government record.
The bill was released from Senate with a vote of 21-17.
Speaker Coughlin on Bill to Create Two Categories of Driver’s Licenses in New Jersey
(TRENTON) – Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) issued the following statement today after the full Assembly voted 42-30-5 and the Senate voted 21-17 sending legislation (A-4743) to create two categories of driver’s licenses in New Jersey to the Governor’s desk:
“The legislation advanced on the Assembly floor and by the Senate today is fair and responsible. It brings us one-step closer to ensuring all motor vehicles and drivers are insured thereby creating safer roadways for all New Jersey residents.
“I thank bill sponsor and Assembly Judiciary Committee chairwoman Annette Quijano for her hard work and leadership on this issue.”