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Tue February 22, 2011
Legislature considers two-tier driver's license system
A two-tier driver's license system is getting traction in the legislature. This is how it would work: applicants who provide a valid social security number would get a regular license. Drivers who can't prove they are in this country legally would get an alternative version.
Mary Margaret Haugen is a Democrat and chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. She's waded into a heated debate over illegal immigrants getting driver's licenses.
Haugen abruptly adjourned a recent legislative hearing after opponents interrupted testimony.
Applicants who can't prove they're in this country legally would still get a license. But it would be stamped "not valid for identification purposes."
"We heard a lot of people say they wouldn't be able to get a license so they can't get insurance. We don't want that so we provided a second tier," says Haugen.
This is similar to the system in Utah. But opponents aren't satisfied. Groups like OneAmerica warn that undocumented immigrants won't bother to get a license if the version they're issued signals they're here illegally.