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Driver's license bill advances to Friday committee vote

Thursday, June 13, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Beth Farmer
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The Oregon Legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote Friday on the Equal Access to Roads Act, aka House Bill 2015. Following its expected passage there, it would proceed to a vote in the full Oregon House of Representatives. Once approved there, it would move to the Senate and then the governor’s desk.

The driver’s license bill has been the top legislative priority this session for the Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN). It would allow drivers to obtain a driver’s license if they can prove their identity, Oregon residency, and driving skills without having to provide proof of legal status. A new tier of license, called the Real ID, will also be available for those who can prove legal presence and want to use their license to board an airplane. 

The bill is aimed at helping undocumented workers, seniors, domestic violence victims and others unable to afford or provide the documents for the Real ID license. It’s also aimed at promoting road safety by identifying all drivers while making sure they qualify to drive and can obtain insurance.

“House Bill 2015 would return Oregon to the prior standard that drivers must prove their identity and ability to pass a written and driving test in order to be licensed and on the road,” OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. “It isn’t about immigration, which is a federal issue. It’s about safe roads and people being able to drive safely.”

Republicans attempted to introduce an amendment requiring that the bill automatically be referred to voters, but the amendment failed.

Observers see all the signs that the Legislature is starting to wrap up its business, meaning bills must either move or die in the next two weeks. The constitutional date of adjournment is June 30.