PRESS ADVISORY: Broad Coalition Set to Testify in Favor of Safe-Driving Bill at State House on Tuesday
Supporters laud opportunity to ensure that all Massachusetts drivers are licensed and insured
September 5, 2013 BOSTON — The Joint Transportation Committee of the State Legislature has scheduled a public hearing on Tuesday, September 10 for the Safe Driving Bill, a bill which would allow state residents to apply for a learner's permit or driver's license regardless of their immigration status, thereby improving the lives of thousands of immigrants and increasing the safety of our state roadways for everyone.
Across the nation, legislation of this type has gained momentum, with supporters including road safety experts, police chiefs, business associations, labor unions, health care providers, immigrant rights advocates, and others. On Tuesday, a broad coalition will appear at the State House to urge the Committee to endorse the bill and ensure that all drivers in Massachusetts are tested, licensed and insured. Earlier this summer, neighboring states Vermont and Connecticut passed similar bills, as have Oregon, Colorado, Maryland and Illinois over the past year.
"This bill would improve the lives of thousands of immigrants in Massachusetts, while also improving the safety of every man, woman and child that uses our roadways," said Natalicia Tracy, Executive Director of the Brazilian Immigrant Center. "Similar bills have also led to lower insurance premiums, and allowed local police to focus their efforts on stopping crime instead of stopping immigrants driving to school or work."
"This is a common sense bill that would benefit everyone," said Eva Millona, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). "Families need to drive to work and take children to doctor's appointments or drop them off at school. This bill would allow Massachusetts to join a growing number of states that recognize that you cannot truly improve road safety without creating a means for every driver to become trained, licensed and insured."
The Joint Committee will begin the hearing, which also includes over 40 other bills, at 1:00 p.m. in Room 437 of the State House.
Safe-Driving Coalition members include: The African Council, ACLU of Massachusetts, Boston New Sanctuary Movement, The Brazilian Immigrant Center, The Brazilian Women's Group, Brockton Interfaith Community, CEDC of Southeastern Mass, Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores, Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, Dominican Development Center, ECCO, Greater Worcester Immigration Coalition, Hampshire Franklin Central Labor Council, The Irish International Immigrant Center, Iglesa Santidad Jesus Viene Pronto, Just Communities of Western Massachusetts, La Comunidad, LUMA, Merrimack Valley Project, MIRA Coalition, REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Social Action Group of Temple Hillel B'nai Torah, Unite Here Local 26, Western Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, Worcester Interfaith,