A procedural trick can either save the public from a bad bill, or indicate a player who’s more concerned with winning than preserving the integrity of the game. But that’s how proponents of the unpopular illegal alien driver card bill passed in 2013 by the Legislature, SB 833, are trying to undermine the people's Veto Referral.
The referral’s title scrupulously conveyed its intent—to let the voter decide whether to uphold the new driver card for illegal aliens. In a beautiful example of government by the people, the voter, not the legislature, was slated to decide this matter.
But distrusting the voter to make the "right" decision, Reps. Vic Gilliam and Democrat Rep. Jessica Vega-Pederson, introduced HB 4054, to allow the Legislature to change the referral's title, erasing any mention of legal presence and instead, replacing it with a title so vague that even the most analytical voter may be confused by it.
The new title will be "to provide a driver card to applicant who is a resident, can prove some qualifications”. What are those? A utility bill? A pulse? The vague wording allows SB 833's advocates to create an illusion of safety-driven qualifications where none exist, leading an unwary voter to vote for it when he might have voted against it if he knew the “qualification” had nothing to do with legal presence in the U.S.
The poor sportsmanship inherent in hijacking the opposition's good faith effort after citizens followed all the rules creates two victims. One is the system itself, when the ruling class ignores the process. The other is public safety, as this claim is dubious at best. However, road safety is the hook that the driver card’s proponents need to grab unwary voters.
If SB 833’s advocates were as concerned with creating insured drivers as they profess, the bill would have demanded irrevocable pre-paid insurance for the life of the card. But SB 833 doesn’t do that. Instead, new card holders are as free to cancel their insurance as they were before 2008.
In fact, the insurance compliance rate among illegal aliens is so low that after new licenses were ended, the DMV admitted it didn’t notice any difference in non-compliance statistics. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, considering that illegal aliens are by definition, a law-breaking population.
Add to this glaring precautionary omission the boost a driver card will give foreign drug dealers. It will protect them from the automatic car searches that getting caught driving without a license would have triggered. SB 833 is in effect, a drug dealer’s business card. Given the fact SB 833 accepts the flimsy Matricula Consular I.D. card, a chronically dangerous illegal alien driver can get a new card whenever he needs to change his identity and start over, a trend law enforcement has noticed.
Aside from the nonsense of the driver card’s safety claim, the representatives’ contempt for the efforts of more than 74,000 voters should shame those who sponsored HB 4054. It passed out of the Rules Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 25, and passed the House the next day.
--Lyneil Vandermolen, Clackamas County