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Follow VPR's statehouse coverage, featuring Pete Hirschfeld and Bob Kinzel in our Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier.

Senate Passes Immigrant License Bill

dairy-farmworkers.jpeg
Toby Talbot
/
AP

The Vermont Senate has passed a bill that would give driver’s licenses to immigrants regardless of their immigration status.

With a nearly unanimous voice vote, state senators gave their final approval Tuesday morning to the measure that would create what are described as drivers’ authorization cards for people living illegally in Vermont.

The bill would authorize the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue IDs that would look different from a regular state license. Supporters say the IDs will allow migrant farm workers to move about the state more freely to access basic services.

Sen. Peg Flory, R-Rutland, who had hoped to require high-cost insurance for obtaining one of the IDs, defended her vote against the bill.

“Various conversations seem to indicate that if you don’t support the bill somehow you don’t value the service and you don’t value these people,” Flory said. “And that’s not true.”

The bill now goes to the House. If it passes, Vermont would join Utah, New Mexico and Washington – the three other states that have similar measures on the books.