Addabbo Green Lights Green Light Bill

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State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. gave the green light to the Green Light Bill, which will enable undocumented immigrants to apply for New York State driver's licenses, a bill that was recently signed into law.

Addabbo elaborated on his position, saying:

“Prior to 2001, undocumented immigrants were able to apply for and receive driver's licenses in New York State. That changed after the September 11 terrorist attacks, but our counter-terrorism techniques have improved greatly since then, which significantly negates security risks.

“Overall, the benefits of enabling undocumented immigrants to apply for licenses far outweigh the argument that those who are in this country illegally should not be able to receive them. First and foremost, it is an important safety issue for all New York State residents.

“For example, responsible motorists will no longer be placed in circumstances where they get into accidents with undocumented and uninsured immigrants, particularly in hit-and-run situations, and are then forced to pick up the entire tab for related vehicle repairs. The increase in the number of insured drivers should decrease automobile insurance premiums, not increase them, through a larger pool of insurance revenues. Plus, the last thing undocumented drivers will want to do is get into accidents and draw attention to themselves.

“Enabling undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses will give all of us a better idea of who they are and where they live: information that is currently unavailable. They will undergo the same licensing procedures, and pay the same fees, as everyone else. They will not be able to use their licenses to enter federal buildings or to fly, and they must provide valid photo identification to obtain the license.

“From a fiscal standpoint, it is estimated that this legislation could raise almost $84 million in state government revenues over the first three years, and more than $6 million annually thereafter. Even the State Business Council supports this bill, and the experience of Connecticut, which enacted a similar policy four years ago, has seen a notable decrease in both unlicensed driver convictions and hit-and-run car crashes.

“Overall, the Green Light Bill makes good fiscal and good public policy sense, and I see it as an important safety measure, particularly in terms of traffic safety.”

The bill was passed in the Assembly on June 12. Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato voted NO to the bill.

According to reports, a poll released by Siena College showed more than 50 percent of New Yorkers surveyed were against allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses.

Governor Cuomo, however, signed the bill making New York the thirteenth state to authorize driver's licenses for immigrants who entered the United States illegally.

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