Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants approved by committee - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants approved by IL House committee

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SPRINGFIELD (WREX) -

Pen to paper.  That's all it will take for immigrants to get licenses to drive in Illinois.

The bill's just waiting for Governor Pat Quinn to sign it.

After efforts from across the aisle pushed a bill allowing immigrants to obtain driver's license through Senate, House lawmakers follow suit.

A roll call vote approved the bill 65 to 47.

All that's separating the bill from becoming law is Governor Pat Quinn's pen.

"He certainly said that he would sign it so that's something I think would be done soon.  Once that's done, they still have to implement the rules and regulations," said Senator Dave Syverson, a 34th district republican.

Certain factors will be taken into account before applicant's receive approval from the Secretary of State's office.

"They have to purchase insurance, they have to have a valid ID and they couldn't have any kind of a criminal record."

Lawmakers say driving is a privilege.  Which means taking advantage of the system comes with harsh penalties.

"You have to have insurance in place before you apply for this driver's license.  If you drop the insurance or do not carry insurance, you get caught or stopped driving and you don't have it, then you will lose that license."

The new rules mean an estimated 250,000 more licensed drivers on the road.

"I would think the soonest we'd be looking at would be sometime in May or June before it would officially start."

Once the law is adopted, Illinois joins New Mexico and Washington as the only state's allowing illegal immigrants to earn driver's licenses.

We called local Representative Chuck Jefferson for his feedback, he didn't respond but did vote yes for the bill.  Senator Syverson opposed it.  So did our other local lawmakers including Tim Bivins, Christine Johnson, John Cabello, Joe Sosnowski and Jim Sacia.

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