As I mentioned this past Friday, we were not yet finished with the week’s work when I sent my last legislative update that morning. We spent the day debating legislation brought forward by my DFL colleagues that would create a special new non-compliant driver’s licenses and state ID card for undocumented immigrants.
Despite a lengthy debate, the bill moved out of the House to the Senate on a 74-52 vote. I voted against the bill for a number of reasons, here are just a couple:
Last session, we aligned Minnesota’s DMV regulations with the federal Real ID standards, which now allows Minnesota to issue federally compliant Real ID driver’s licenses and ID cards. H.F. 1500 includes:
”A person is not required to demonstrate United States citizenship or lawful presence in the United States in order to obtain a noncompliant driver’s license or identification card.”
Current Minnesota law specifically forbids issuing drivers licenses and ID cards to undocumented immigrants. We do not need to weaken existing state law as to disclosure of one’s legal status in the United States.
The H.F. 1500 language also contains special data sharing restrictions on individuals that are issued a non-complaint license or ID card:
“Subd. 11. Certain data on noncompliant license or identification card; department and agents. (a) The commissioner must not share or disseminate outside of the division of the department administering driver licensing any data on individuals indicating or otherwise having the effect of identifying that the individual applied for, was denied, or was issued a noncompliant driver's license or identification card under section 171.06, subdivision 7.
The section goes on to say:
“(d) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, this subdivision prohibits the commissioner and a driver's license agent from sharing or disseminating the data described in paragraphs. (a) to (c) with any entity otherwise authorized to obtain data under subdivision 7, any political subdivision, any state agency as defined in section 171.06, subdivision 7, or any federal entity.”
This provision complicates both state and federal law enforcement’s ability to deal with individuals possessing a non-complaint license or ID card. As a U.S. citizen and Minnesota resident, you and I do not enjoy the same data sharing protections as would an individual in possession of a non-compliant Minnesota driver’s license or ID card.
This bill – if it should reach the governor’s desk – would turn Minnesota into a full-blown sanctuary state. The good news is, despite its passage in the House, there is no Senate companion bill. We already have our plate full with only four working session weeks left before we must get our next two-year state budget in place and adjourn.
Enough of these unnecessary distractions!