legislature

From his blog to ours, Rep. Richardson speaks out

The Driver Card Bill (Senate Bill 833), passed the Senate, the House and has been signed into law by Gov. Kitzhaber.

I voted against issuing driver cards to those who cannot prove legal residency after learning the experience of other states where such laws have been tested. (Watch a video of my floor debate against Senate Bill 833 on YouTube.)

New Mexico’s illegal immigrant drivers’ law failed to achieve its goal of lessening the number of uninsured drivers. Investigations revealed New Mexico’s law was a magnet that attracted additional illegal immigration into their state. In addition, New Mexico’s governor says she wishes their law could be repealed — citing problems relating to fraud, human trafficking, organized crime and national security.

After several years, Tennessee repealed its driving certificate laws. Investigators discovered non-residents were being shuttled to Tennessee and driving certificates were being issued based on false residency documents and even bribery of government officials.

In short, the desire to help thousands of undocumented workers and their families be assimilated into Oregon society may be well-intended, but the new Oregon driver card may have unintended consequences. When states such as Tennessee and New Mexico have documented, widespread fraud and abuse of their driver cards, and have either repealed their laws or have a governor who wishes the laws were terminated, Oregon should beware.

Like it or not, the Oregon driver card law will become effective Jan. 1, 2014. Time will tell whether or not the Oregon driver card was good policy or fraught with negative unintended consequences.

Rep. Dennis Richardson

http://blogs.esouthernoregon.com/southern-oregon-legislators/2013/05/03/why-i-voted-against-driver-cards/

 

Oregon driver-card opponents file referendum papers

Opponents, as expected, have started their effort to force a statewide election on four-year driver’s cards for Oregonians who do not qualify for standard eight-year licenses.

Republican Reps. Sal Esquivel of Medford and Kim Thatcher of Keizer, and Richard LaMountain of Portland, filed the referendum papers with the secretary of state.

They hope to overturn Senate Bill 833, which lawmakers approved and Gov. John Kitzhaber signed on May 1. The bill would allow four-year cards for those who cannot prove legal presence in the United States and do not qualify for licenses, which also can be used for federal identification purposes such as boarding commercial aircraft and entering federal buildings.

The referendum effort was announced last week by Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which opposed the bill, hours after Kitzhaber signed it. Esquivel and Thatcher both spoke against the bill during a House debate April 30.

Referendum sponsors will have to gather 58,142 valid signatures by 90 days after the end of the 2013 Legislature. That deadline would fall on Sept. 26 if lawmakers adjourn by their target of June 28.

If their measure qualifies for a statewide election, the attorney general will write a ballot title, which is an official summary. The measure would then appear on the November 2014 ballot, although lawmakers can provide for a different date. The law would be suspended pending the outcome of the election.

If their measure does not qualify for a statewide election, the law will take effect Jan. 1.

Oregon would join Washington, New Mexico, Utah and Illinois in providing alternatives to driver licenses. The 2005 federal law does allow alternatives to licenses as long as they are clearly marked invalid for federal identification purposes.

Keep calling - SB833 vote pushed to Tuesday

Alert date: 
2013-04-29
Alert body: 

It's difficult to believe that our Oregon Legislature is on the precipice of passing Legislation that will roll back the tough requirements of the 2008 driver license. WHY?

Many Legislators think that by allowing illegal aliens to again get driver privilege cards they are helping...wait...helping who?  They are helping illegal aliens, of course!  Helping them to get back and forth to their...wait...jobs...it is still illegal for them to work in the US, isn't it?

Those Legislators that support this bill clearly have NO respect for the rule of law, for Oregon's unemployed or for the hundreds of victims of illegal alien crime.

The Federal government may have left the front door open, but Oregon is throwing down the welcome mat!  WHY?  The speculation of that question gives me a headache.

Keep calling and tell your Representative to VOTE NO on Senate Bill 833.  Call, call and call again.  Then, email them, too!

 


 

Crime tracker speaks out about the sad reality of SB833

The Oregon Legislature is in a rush to pass Legislation granting driver licenses to illegal aliens in the name of public safety.  David Cross explains just a few of the tragic results of that rationale.  Read his moving guest opinion here.  Then call all of your Legislators before the final vote on Tuesday.  Go here:  http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/home.htm to find out who your Legislators are, if you aren't sure.

Oregon's citizens and legal residents have, unfortunately, become the collateral damage in the Legislatures rush to heap ever more benefits on those in our country illegally.  It's shameful and will, I fear, end tragically for many more Oregonians.

Driver’s license bill likely to prevail

SALEM — At the urging of immigrant rights groups, several significant business associations and Gov. John Kitzhaber, lawmakers appear likely to approve a bipartisan bill this session that would create a new short-term driving license for illegal immigrants.

Proponents believe the concept is grounded in realism, allowing a population that already lives and works in Oregon to drive legally and with insurance, until various immigration-related issues are comprehensively addressed at the federal level.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of Oregonians who have a visceral conviction that the policy gives an unwarranted benefit to lawbreakers, encouraging more illegal immigrants to come to the state, and without necessarily making the state’s roads any safer. Those conflicting viewpoints were expressed in full voice at a heavily attended first public hearing Thursday on Senate Bill 833. Although public testimony was limited to two minutes per person, many who had signed up to testify were unable to do so at the two-hour hearing, while those watching the proceedings spilled into at least three overflow rooms.

Mariana Alvarez Flores of Salem said she had taken the day off from her job as a farm laborer to testify to the committee in favor of the bill.

“I don’t like driving without a license, but right now I have no other option,” she said through a translator.

Conversely, Cynthia Kendoll, the president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said the proposal “is wrong on every level.”

“Just because you can pass a bill, doesn’t mean you should,” she said.

Under SB 833, four-year licenses — rather than the eight-year licenses possessed by most Oregon drivers — could be granted to individuals who can provide proof of identity and at least one year of Oregon residency.

The new type of licenses would be slightly more expensive than typical Class C licenses, at $74 with a $54 renewal fee after four years, although several amendments are being considered that would lower the amounts.

No commercial license would be similarly made available.

Sen. Chuck Thomsen, a Hood River Republican who is co-sponsoring the bill, noted that the licenses, or “driving cards” as they may ultimately be named, wouldn’t allow a holder to register to vote, or to purchase a gun. They also couldn’t be used as a legal form of identification for miscellaneous non-driving purposes, as typical licenses can be, he added.

“This is a very important piece of legislation that affects a lot of ... good people and their families who live here in Oregon,” he said.

Rep. Kim Thatcher, a Keizer Republican, was one of several who testified who cited examples of vehicle accidents involving illegal immigrants.

“I tell you this story not because I think all people without (citizenship) documents are driving around drunk,” she said. But “this is an illustration of what can happen when we issue licenses to people who shouldn’t have them to begin with.”

No further public hearings on the proposal are expected in the Senate. The bill has been scheduled for a work session on Monday, where it could be amended and voted to the chamber floor.

Short-term driver's license bill introduced

A bill introduced Tuesday would allow some people without immigration documents to obtain a short-term Oregon driver’s license.

Senate Bill 833 has not been assigned to a committee for a hearing.

The bill would allow the state Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division to issue licenses without proof of legal presence in the United States if applicants meet all other conditions. Such licenses would be valid for four years, half the standard eight years.

Applicants still would have to prove their identity, date of birth, and residence in Oregon for one year, as well as pass the written and driving-skills tests.

Such licenses could not be used for federal identification purposes, such as boarding commercial aircraft or entering federal buildings.

Lawmakers in 2008 required proof of legal presence in the United States as a condition of obtaining a state license or identification card. They did so to comply with requirements of the federal Real ID Act, which does allow states to issue other licenses if clearly marked as invalid for federal identification purposes.

Eleven months ago, Gov. John Kitzhaber said he would convene a group to resolve the issue of licenses for those who lacked the documents.

“People need to pass a test, obtain a license and insurance to be on the roads. We all need to get to church, the store and work,” said Jeff Stone, executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries and part of the group.

“We have worked hard to craft a bill that allows our law enforcement officials to know when they are looking at a valid driver’s license. Senate Bill 833 is a reasonable solution to the problem.”

The bill is expected to face opposition from Oregonians for Immigration Reform.

“Before the 2008 law, Oregon’s license had become the gold standard for potential terrorists and drug traffickers because it was good for eight years and didn’t require any proof of legal presence,” said Jim Ludwick of McMinnville, a spokesman. “Five years later, we are right back in the same place.”

Francisco Lopez, executive director of Causa Oregon immigrant-rights group, said there are about 200,000 Latino workers in Oregon.

“We are contributing members of the community and the economy,” he said.

Washington and New Mexico do not require proof of legal presence for licenses; Washington issues an enhanced license valid for federal purposes. Utah issues a driver privilege card that must be renewed annually.

The bill is sponsored by four Democrats and four Republicans in both chambers.

They are Sens. Chip Shields, D-Portland; Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay; Bill Hansell, R-Athena; Chuck Thomsen, R-Hood River, and Reps. Chris Harker, D-Beaverton, Jessica Vega Pederson, D-Portland, Vic Gilliam, R-Silverton, and Mark Johnson, R-Hood River.

Gov. Kitzhaber signs tuition bill allowing in-state tuition for immigrant students

Gov. John Kitzhaber signed into law today a bill allowing in-state tuition for immigrant students without documents.

“This bill will help them get their shot at the American dream,” he said to legislators, advocates and students packed into his ceremonial office at the Capitol.

He described the students, whose parents brought them illegally to the United States when they were young, as “exactly the kind of young people we want in our system of public education and universities.”

For House Bill 2787, it was the end of a decade-long journey. Similar bills cleared the Senate in 2003 and 2011, but both died in the House without reaching a vote.

Students would qualify if they graduated from high school or its equivalent in Oregon, attended Oregon schools three years prior to graduation and U.S. schools for five years, and show their intent to obtain legal status or citizenship in the United States.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, is the chief Senate sponsor of the law and was the first to introduce such legislation in 2003. He did so at the request of Laura Lanka, then the principal of Woodburn High School.

In her original 2002 email, which Courtney read aloud, she wrote, “What a bill like this would do is allow our college-ready students, regardless of their immigration status, the opportunity to get an education.”

Lanka, who is retired and now lives in Washington state, was present at the ceremony.

State university officials said they expect the number of qualifying students to be limited, given that they still are ineligible for state and federal financial aid.

They estimate only 38 additional students in the coming two-year cycle, and 80 students in the 2015-17 cycle. The net gain in tuition was estimated at just under $350,000 in the next cycle, and $1.5 million in 2015-17, assuming that none pay out-of-state tuition at rates three or four times in-state rates.

Oregon joins 12 other states with similar laws, including California and Washington. Two others have acted by other means.

Democratic majorities in both chambers resulting from the Nov. 6 election made passage likely. Five Republicans joined all 34 Democrats for it in the House, and three Republicans joined all 16 Democrats for it in the Senate.

The minority Republicans in the House sponsored a substitute that would have limited eligibility to those participating in a delayed-deportation program created last year by President Barack Obama. Participants are eligible for work permits. But the House defeated the proposed substitute on a party-line vote.

Kitzhaber took no public stance on a similar bill in 2011. But he said during his budget presentation on Nov. 30 he would sign such a bill, and held a news conference on it Feb. 11 with business leaders.

Oregon’s major business groups joined the Oregon Student Association and immigrant-rights groups in backing the bill. Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which is critical of federal immigration policy, opposed it.

Opponents have already said a legal challenge is likely. Gabriela Morrongiello, a sophomore at Oregon State University who is from California — and who is president of the conservative Young Americans for Freedom chapter — stated there would be a challenge in her testimony to a House committee on Feb. 13.

California’s law was upheld in 2010 by that state’s highest court, and in 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal.

If Oregon’s law is challenged, the case would go directly to the state Supreme Court, which has the authority to appoint someone to sort out disputes on facts before the justices hear oral arguments.

Mark your calendar - Saturday, April 6 @2:00pm

Alert date: 
2013-03-22
Alert body: 

Take the weekend off, enjoy the Spring weather, go for a drive or work in your garden. It's time to step back and take a little time for ourselves. 

But, be certain to mark you calendar for Saturday, April 6 from 2 - 4pm for OFIR's next meeting in Salem at the Best Western Mill Creek Inn, across from Costco, in Salem.

Bring a friend, bring your anger, bring your ideas and we will strategize about how to defeat the driver license bill lurking in the shadows at the Capitol.

Call every Oregon Senator today!

Alert date: 
2013-03-20
Alert body: 

Citizens likely have only today to stop passage of HB 2787 which would give in-state tuition benefits to illegal alien students.  The bill has passed the House and was heard by the Senate Education Committee yesterday. Recent reports tell us us they will send the bill to the Senate floor for a vote as early as Thursday.

CALL, email or visit your Senator.  Tell them you are a constituent and you VOTE.  Tell them you do not support, nor appreciate, that they would put the demands of people illegally in our country, ahead of the rights of US citizens.  Even our veterans are getting shafted in their zeal to get this bill passed ASAP.

If you don't know who your Senator is, find out here:  http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/
 

In-state tuition for immigrants heads to Senate vote

The Oregon Senate might vote as early as Thursday on a bill allowing in-state tuition for immigrant students.

The Senate Education Committee voted 3-2 along party lines Tuesday to advance House Bill 2787. The committee did not amend the bill, and a spokesman for Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said the bill could be up for a final vote Thursday.

Courtney will be the bill’s floor manager when it comes up for a vote. He also sponsored the original bill a decade ago.

He said students should not be held responsible for what their parents did entering the United States illegally.

The bill would allow in-state tuition for students without immigration documents, if they graduated from high school or its equivalent in Oregon, attended Oregon schools three years before graduation and U.S. schools for five years. Students also would have to show intent to seek legal status or citizenship in the United States.

Out-of-state tuition typically is three or four times the rate for in-state residents.

Committee members heard from 28 witnesses split equally for and against the bill.

One of those in favor was Ayrton Nicolas, 17, a senior at North Salem High School, who said his ambition is to be a neurosurgeon. Nicolas, a member of the Junior ROTC drill team, said he has been accepted by several colleges.

“Unfortunately, because of my legal status in America, my tuition costs are twice or sometimes three times more than that of my fellow classmates who I studied with, played sports with and volunteered with,” he said. “This cost is the only thing keeping me from chasing my dream.”

But Mark Callahan of Salem, who has twice run for the Oregon House from Eugene, was among those who opposed the bill.

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