Assembly passes Chairwoman Alzate and Sen. Britto’s bill reducing driving privilege card fees
STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly passed Chairwoman Karen Alzate and Sen. Robert Britto’s legislation which reduces the fee for an original driver privilege card.
Last session, the General Assembly approved Chairwoman Alzate’s legislation that directed the Division of Motor Vehicles to issue driving privilege cards to undocumented residents in the state, effective July 1, 2023.
This legislation (2023-H 5780, 2023-S 0751) would reduce the fee for an original driver privilege card from $50 to $25 in order to bring the fee in line with the cost charged for renewing a driver’s license and also would take effect on July 1, 2023.
“The community of color has long advocated for these driving privilege cards that will keep our roads safer while also helping a portion of our population who struggle daily due to not being able to drive a car to work, or to pick up their kids, or to go about their daily business. The law passed last year acknowledges that individuals with undocumented status are still human beings who deserve the same services and protections that documented residents have access to and in continuing with this spirit of equity, I introduced this bill to lower the fees to obtain a driving privilege card. Our undocumented friends, family and neighbors should not have to pay more than others in order to drive safely and legally and this bill will rectify this inequality,” said Representative Alzate, Chairwoman of the House Special Legislation Committee (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket, Central Falls).
“This bill is about the issue of fairness and correcting an inequality present in the current driving privilege card law. These cards keep our roads safer and we should not be discouraging their use by charging the individuals who need these cards more money than would be paid for renewing a normal driving license,” said Senator Britto (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket).
The bill from last session states that in order to apply for the driving privilege card or permit, an applicant must have verification from the tax administrator that the applicant either has filed a personal income tax return as a resident with this state for the tax year preceding the date of application or has been claimed as a dependent on a personal income tax return by an individual who has filed a personal income tax return as a resident with this state for the tax year preceding the date of application. The applicant must also present two primary proof-of-identity documents, or one primary proof-of-identity document and one secondary proof-of-identity document, and two proof-of-residency documents. The applicant must also follow insurance requirements.
Neither the permit nor card would be usable for federal or state identification or voting purposes.
The driving privilege card was created because previously, those unable to establish a lawful presence in the United States were unable to produce the documentation, such as a Social Security number, that state law requires for the issuing of a driver’s license.
Both bills now head to the governor’s desk for consideration.