By State Sen. JIM SEWARD, R-Milford • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ALBANY – While the 2019 state legislative session concluded several weeks ago, discussion continues to swirl around one of the more controversial new measures approved this year – the so-called “Green Light” law.
he new law, which formally takes effect on Dec. 14, 2019, would permit illegal/undocumented immigrants to apply for standard driver’s licenses using forms of foreign identification. The majority of New Yorkers are against the idea and prior to the Senate vote on the bill, I heard from a great number of constituents who voiced strident opposition.
State law governs the issuance of driver’s licenses. Since 1993, 13 states and D.C. have issued licenses to residents – i.e. some of them could be illegal aliens.
This does not give the cardholder the right to vote. In fact, it says that right on the card.
What it does is bring them into compliance concerning requirements for car insurance, car registration, and traffic tickets, all the regulations that are pertinent to what they’re doing – driving a car.
In other states, they are called “privilege cards” and are not valid IDs for voting.
Voter registration laws are likewise handled by the states, and so-called “motor voter” laws effectively register anyone with a license – that is a valid ID for voting – to vote. If their license is not a valid ID for voting, they don’t get registered.
Not that complicated to sort out any misunderstandings.
ALBANY – Efforts by New York’s county clerks to clarify their responsibilities to the U.S. Constitution in regards to the “Green Light” bill are “shortsighted and just plain wrong,” Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie declared in a statement released today.
He singled out Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns, who went to federal court Monday evening seeking an injunction against the bill, which would require county clerks like Otsego’s Kathy Sinnott Gardner who run state DMV offices to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented residents/illegal aliens.
COOPERSTOWN – By presstime, no word had been received from President Trump’s regional representation on whether the Justice Department will go to court to stop New York State’s “Green Light” law from going into effect Dec. 14.
The “Green Light” law would require the state’s county clerks who operate state Department of Motor Vehicle offices locally to issue driver’s licenses to what some people call undocumented residents and other call illegal aliens.
Saratoga County Clerk Craig Hayner wrote the first letter to Trump last week, asking the president to direct the Justice Department to intervene. Within two or three days, 35 county clerks in all, including Otsego County’s Kathy Sinnott Gardner, he written similar letters.
All but one were Republicans, Hayner said in an interview. The sole Democrat was the Oneida County clerk, Sandy Deperno.
According to Sinnot Gardner, the president of the state County Clerks Association, Judith Hunter of Steuben County, has summoned members to a meeting July 8 in Syracuse. The local clerk said she plans to attend, and will say more about the issue after that.
Hayner’s letter to Trump said that, while other states have similar laws allowing undocumented or illegal residents to get driver’s licenses, none have gone as far as the bill passed by the Democratic state Legislature this year and signed by Governor Cuomo.
It prohibits the state’s county clerks from sharing any driver’s-license information with federal immigration authorities. Since county clerks take oaths to administer both the state and U.S. Constitutions, Hayner believes the new law is requiring clerks to break one law or the other.
Sinnot Garner agrees, but has another concern. The state DMV installed “customer facing devices” in county DMV offices a few months ago, where driver’s-license applicants are required to check a box indicating if they have registered to vote or not.
If someone checks the “no” box, his or her material is sent automatically to the county Board of Elections, which registers them, the Otsego clerk said, without knowing if they are citizens or not.
COOPERSTOWN – Otsego County Clerk Kathy Sinnott Gardner said yesterday she has joined 30 county clerks in sending a letter to President Trump, asking him to direct the U.S. Justice Department to go to court to block the state’s new “Green Light Law.”
In an interview, Saratoga County Clerk Chris Hayner said, as of yesterday, that number had risen to 35. He said all were Republicans, except Oneida County Clerk Sandra DePerno, a Utica Democrat.
COOPERSTOWN – Saratoga County Clerk Craig Hayner, with the concurrence of 30 county clerks across the state, has asked President Trump to ask the Justice Department to go to federal court to determine if New York State’s “Green Light” Law, which goes into effect Dec. 14, is constitutional.
The “Green Light” Law, passed by the Democratic controlled state Legislature, requires county clerks to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. The Otsego County Board of Representatives passed a resolution this month objecting to the bill, and Otsego County Clerk Kathy Sinnott Gardner has expressed concern the automatic license-application program will automatically register undocumented residents as voters.