The Oregon House of Representatives today approved SB 833B, the driver’s card bill, on a 38-20 vote. The Senate passed the bill earlier. Gov. John Kitzhaber announced on Twitter he will sign the bill on the Capitol steps tomorrow (May 1, 2013) as part of May Day festivities. The signing ceremony and rally will begin at 11:30 a.m.
“Senate Bill 833 is motivated by vision that all Oregonians deserve their shot at the American dream,” Kitzhaber said in a press release. “This bill helps create secure jobs with upward income mobility, and supports safe, secure communities where people have a sense of common purpose and commitment to one another.”
The bill marks a significant victory for employers and workers in Oregon agriculture. It will allow people to get a four-year driver’s card without having to prove legal presence in the country. They will still have to prove their identity and pass all the same tests required of licensed drivers.
The OAN played a leading role in the crafting of the legislation. It participated in a task force the governor convened. This group had strong representation from business, labor, the faith community, cultural groups, and law enforcement. The bill had strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.
“It’s remarkable that so many groups who don’t always work together could find common ground on a controversial issue,” OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. “It is a testament to the focus we had. We made sure the bill was narrowly written so it would only address the issue of unlicensed, untested drivers, and I feel we succeeded. It’s a big win for all involved.”
Before approving the bill, the House debated for more than an hour. Leading supporters of the bill included Rep. Bob Jenson (R-Hood River), Rep. Jessica Vega-Pederson (D-Portalnd), Rep. Vic Gilliam (R-Silverton) and Rep. Chris Harker (D-Beaverton).
“Senate Bill 833 is a common sense measure that helps Oregon residents follow the law,” Harker said.
“It’s about making sure that Oregon’s roads are safer,” Vega-Pedersen said. “Whether it’s a mother driving her kids to school or a father driving to the grocery store, we have a responsibility to make sure our roads are safe, and we have a stake in making sure all drivers are tested and legally licensed.”
“It encourages a way into the daylight for honest workers, for safer highways,” Gilliam said. “And in my view, it leverages some of the good guys to get better. It’s time to reach out to individuals that want to right a wrong, to become stand up citizens.”