Minnesota House passes ‘Driver’s Licenses for All’ bill, heads to Senate

(ABC 6 News) – The Minnesota House approved a bill that would allow someone to get a driver’s license or a state identification card without showing proof of legal presence in the United States.

House File 4, also known as “Driver’s Licenses for All,” passed by a 69-60 vote Monday evening. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Supporters say the bill would break down barriers for getting a job or housing, and also make roads safer.

“Driver’s License for All is an important component to eliminating obstacles for workers to safely and reliably connect with their employers,” said Jill Sims of Hospitality Minnesota.

“Minnesota needs to restore access for all residents of the state to drive regardless of immigration status. Having the ability to obtain a driver’s license should be viewed as a human right and a necessity for all of our communities to be safe commuting and traveling on our roads. Parents, workers, students, and the many great folks who do so much to build our diverse economy deserve access to driving legally with a license,” Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega (DFL-St. Paul) said in a statement.

Rep. Kim Hicks (DFL-Rochester) is a co-author and voted in favor of the bill by saying, “I know the barriers to getting a driver’s license and how scary it can be for immigrants, including two of my children. This is an opportunity to fix a wrong from 20 years ago. Our local law enforcement, chamber of commerce and a broad coalition of statewide supporters wanted us to pass this legislation. I was very proud to support and vote yes for Driver’s Licenses for All tonight.”

Meanwhile, those who oppose argue it creates opportunities for voter fraud.

“A driver’s license looks like everybody else’s would not be able to be told whether it’s valid or not. Ink guardrails to help make sure it can’t be misused into the future is worthwhile for us to look at,” said Rep. John Petersburg, (R-Waseca).

The bill has been a decades-long push by some Minnesotans since 2003, when the state issued a requirement to show proof of residency to get a driver’s license.

Currently, the Secretary of State doesn’t require a license to register to vote, but it is still an option.