Rice Horse Trades with Sweeney to Climb Aboard Driver’s Licence Bill

Senator Ronald Rice says that he will not vote on a NJ state budget that doesn't include $140 million in cost savings gained through a marijuana decriminalization and expungement law that eliminates unjust judicial and correctional practices targeting poor, minority and urban residents.

On grounds that the legislature has not advanced some bills championed by the Legislative Black

In a press conference after Governor Phil Murphy’s 2020 budget speech, Senate President Steve Sweeney said the NJ legislature gave Murphy a good budget and he’s happy the governor signed that budget. Then he criticized the governor.
Sweeney

Caucus, Senator Ronald Rice (D-28) said he hestitated to back S-3229 unless leadership gets behind his priorities.

S-3229 is a version of the driver’s license bill, which would residents not legally in this country to obtain a version of a driver’s license.

“How do we justify the fast-tracking of bills for undocumented workers?” said Rice.

The veteran senator from Newark complained about the languishing of numerous bills.

“Justice is not a piecemeal proposition,” he said. “I will not use my vote to favor one group over another. None of us is a second class citizen.”

Rice said he has a commitment from Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) to move some of his bills – or blended versions of bills – during lame duck.

On that basis, Rice – speaking before the Senate Transportation Committee – said he would back the driver’s license bill – only with that commitment by Sweeney to the interests of the Legislative Black Caucus.

LD15 Senator Shirley Turner of Lawrenceville
LD15 Senator Shirley Turner of Lawrenceville

His (and senator Shirley Turner’s [who champions the same set of bills] priorities:

S-1080, which concerns driver’s license suspension and restricted use driver’s license endorsement for certain crimes and offenses. It removes automatic suspension for child support arrearages.

S-1275, which clarifies procedures for restoration of driver’s license after suspension and authorizes the court to waive imprisonment under certain circumstances.

S-3332, which establishes a program allowing certain applicants to perform community service in lieu of paying motor vehicle surcharges.

S-3424 which provides that driver’s license may not be suspended on grounds of failure to pay child support unless obligor is given the opportunity for a court hearing.

A-4673 which provides for restricted use driver’s license as an alternative for license suspension in municipal court.

These would be merged into one lame duck session behemoth.

Or two.

Quizzing colleague Rice, Senator Nia Gill (D-36) made sure the Newark senator had sweeney’s committment for this session.

Rice said he did.

Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka testified in favor of the bill, authored by Senator Joe Vitale (D-19), who was the first speaker to address Senator Pat Diegnan’s (D-18) committee.

From the bill, a companion of which passed earlier this week out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee:

This bill 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.

In addition to requiring an applicant to submit satisfactory proof of identity and age, an applicant for a REAL ID license or identification card is required to submit two documents providing satisfactory proof of New Jersey residency, proof of the applicant’s social security number or verification of ineligibility for a social security number in accordance with the “REAL ID Act of 2005,” and proof that the applicant’s presence in the United States is authorized under federal law.

The bill requires a standard license or identification card to indicate that the license or identification card is not to be accepted as identification for an official federal purpose and is to bear a unique design or color to indicate that the license or identification card is not to be accepted for an official federal purpose.  An official federal purpose includes but is not limited to accessing federal facilities, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft, and entering nuclear power plants.

 

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