Maryland panel: keep current driver's license rules

| Monday, November 22, 2004

A Maryland state task force is preparing to issue a report that recommends the state keep its current rules restricting undocumented immigrants from getting driver’s licenses.

A draft of the report, approved by the task force but not yet submitted to state lawmakers, could relieve the General Assembly from having to legislate how immigrants can get licenses.

The 11-member panel has been investigating the issues surrounding immigration documentation since fall 2003. The group determined in its report that no changes in the law are needed. The board recommends instead a handful of changes to the state Motor Vehicle Administration rules.

The deeply divided panel dropped the most substantive and controversial proposal – allowing those with foreign consulate-issued identification cards to get licenses. The recommendations, which are not binding, call for the MVA to keep requiring documents that have been validated by a federal or state government agency.

Several panel members who favored expanding immigrants’ access to licenses are preparing a minority report with alternative recommendations for the General Assembly to review when it convenes in January.

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