Senate passes bill allowing immigrants to get driver's licenses - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Senate passes bill allowing immigrants to get driver's licenses

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Aisles blend in Springfield to move a controversial piece of legislation through the Illinois Senate. We first told you about the idea last week.

It took a bi-partisan effort to approve the idea of getting Illinois' illegal immigrants drivers' licenses.  That's in the senate.  This comes during the second to last day of an otherwise uneventful veto session.

If it makes it through, applicants must prove they've lived here for one year then prove their identity.

Applicants must pass the same driving tests as Illinois residents and if awarded the Temporary Visitor Driver's License they must get insurance and face the same traffic violation penalties as residents.

"Senate Bill 957 takes that head on and says we're going to make this about public safety and make our roads safer," said Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross.

A plan introduced by Illinois democratic Governor Pat Quinn get's backed by not one, not two, but a handful of high profile republicans.

House GOP leader Tom Cross is on board.  As are senate republican leader Christine Radogno, state Comptroller Judy Baar-Topinka and former Governor Jim Edgar.

"I think anyone who's concerned about safety on the highways would be supportive of this legislation," said Edgar.

At least one local republican representative isn't budging.  69th District Rep. Joe Sosnowski says the idea blurs the line of citizenship.

"Still concerned with the issue of giving benefits to people who are here illegally and giving the same benefits that legal citizens have," said Sosnowski.

Senator Christine Radogno supports the bill.  She says a lack of action in Washington is one reason.  That's something Sosnowski agrees with.

"We have a problem in this country that the federal government has not addressed the issue of undocumented immigrants," said Radogno.

"I understand their rationality I would just agree to disagree on the specifics of it and I think again the thing that we should be doing is promoting a national decision on immigration and immigration reform," said Sosnowski.

The senate bill passed this afternoon now it moves on to the house.  No word on when that vote will be taken.

Republicans Tim Bivins, Christine Johnson and Dave Syverson all voted "no".

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