This morning at 9 a.m., The Joint Ways and Means Committee will take up the four-year Oregon driver’s card bill, Senate Bill 833. The bill would allow creation of a driver’s card for Oregon residents who can pass the tests and prove residency, but do not present documents showing legal presence in the country.
The bill already was approved by the Senate Business and Transportation Committee 4-2 on April 15, and by the Joint Ways and Means Transportation Subcommittee on a 6-0 vote yesterday (April 18). In a compromise, the Business and Transportation Committee renamed the proposed document from a “short-term driver’s license” to a “four-year driver’s card.” If the bill clears Joint Ways and Means, the next step would be consideration by the full Senate. If approved there, the House would take it up.
The bill enjoys broad support. The Oregon Association of Nurseries is one of the main supporters of the bill, along with the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association. Groups representing business, labor, law enforcement, the Latino community and the faith community are also on board. These groups participated in a task force put together by Gov. John Kitzhaber, which was charged with finding an appropriate remedy for the issue of unlicensed drivers. The task force, consisting of disparate interests that don’t always see eye to eye, developed a narrowly written bill that only addresses public safety. The resulting driver’s card will not give the holder any rights to vote, enter a federal building, board an airplane or purchase a firearm.
The bill gained a major supporter when the Statesman Journal newspaper (Salem, Ore.) issued an endorsement last Sunday. The editorial boards of the Oregonian (Portland, Ore.) and the Register Guard (Eugene, Ore.) previously came out in favor of the bill. Together these are the top three metropolitan dailies in Oregon.