Last week, Massachusetts lawmakers voted to override a veto from Gov. Charlie Baker, officially creating a law that allows illegal immigrants in Massachusetts to obtain driver’s licenses.
The law would take effect July 2023. Residents without legal immigration status would be able to obtain a driver’s license by providing two documents that prove their identity. This could include a foreign passport, a birth certificate, or a marriage certificate.
State Republicans are now taking steps to undo this law.
A state committee member, with the backing of the state party chairman and leading GOP candidate for governor Geoff Diehl, filed paperwork Monday to start this process, The Boston Globe reported.
10 registered voters are needed to submit a petition. The soonest that this could begin is on July 9, after the law has been up for at least 30 days. After that, organizers would have to collect 40,120 signatures by Sept. 7. Once the signatures are gathered, the question of keeping or repealing the law would then be placed on the ballot.
The effort to undo this law was kicked off by Diehl, who issued a statement with his running mate Leah Allen shortly after the override vote was taken.
“This bill is a bad bill,” Diehl said. “Leah and I will not sit by idly and watch the consequences of this bill take away the safety and democratic rights of Massachusetts residents.”
Diehl then reached out to Milford resident Maureen Maloney, chair of a new committee called Fair And Secure Massachusetts. Maloney’s son was killed by a drunk driver who was in the country illegally.
Maloney has been outspoken on such legislation in the past, and told The Boston Globe that she plans to eschew a paid signature gathering firm, instead opting for “grassroots” gatherers. “This is an issue people feel strongly about. It has to be something that resonates with them. I think we will easily get the required signatures,” she said.
The House voted 119-36 in favor of overriding Baker’s veto last week, and the Senate followed suit with a 32-8 vote. Both chambers are controlled by Democrats.
Baker vetoed the bill on May 27, saying that it “undoes a critical safeguard to the driver’s license issuance process” and that the Registry of Motor Vehicles doesn’t have the expertise or ability to verify the numerous types of documents issued by other countries that would be used as proof of identity under the bill.
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