Promising a long day to consider a complex and controversial subject, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20) this morning opened a hearing with remarks on A-4743, which would allow the state to issue drivers’ licenses to residents unable to prove lawful residency.
“This legislation has been a complicated work in progress,” said the chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. “This bill will change thousands of lives in the Garden State.”
The current law requires lawful presence in the U.S., acknowledged Motor Vehicles Commissioner Brenda Sue Fulton.
“You’re accomodating people who break the law,” Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-23). “People who have
broken the law who come to our country, we should accomodate them?”
Peterson went after the commissioner.
“We don’t have to follow the six-point system [currently in place],” he said.
“That is not the way I understand the details of the bill, but the bill requires us to provde proof of identity, proof of age and proof of residence,” Fulton said.
“Part of the problem here is, knowing who we’re issuing driver’s licenses to – would it apply to someone driving a tractor trailer?”
“Commercial driver’s licenses would not be considered,” the commissioner said.
“Oh, absolutely not, sir,”
“Could they drive a truck, like the first attack on the World Trade Center?”
The question sparked a rumble of opposition in the hearing room.
According to the language in the bill, A-4743 creates two categories of basic driver’s licenses, motorcycle licenses, probationary licenses, and non-driver identification cards (hereinafter referred to collectively as licenses and identification cards).
Under the bill, a person may apply for a standard license or identification card or a REAL ID license or identification card. A REAL ID license or identification card is to comply with the provisions of the federal “REAL ID Act of 2005,” any amendatory or supplementary acts, and any federal regulations adopted thereunder. Under the bill, the fee for a REAL ID license or identification card is greater than the fee for a standard license or identification card.
The bill allows a New Jersey resident who meets requirements for the issuance of a license or identification, but who is unable to prove lawful presence in the United States to receive a standard license or identification card if the person provides satisfactory proof of identity and age, two documents providing proof of New Jersey residency, and proof of the person’s social security number. If the person applying for a standard license or identification card does not have a social security number, the person is required to indicate, in a manner prescribed by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), that the person is not eligible to receive a social security number.
Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (D-7) had a question for Fulton.
“Will the MVC adminsiter the law as passed by the assembly and signed by the governor?”
“Yes, we will administer the law to the fullest extent,” the commissioner said.