Republicans in the House of Representatives called Monday for a public forum on a state policy set to take effect next month that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
Starting Jan. 2, the state Department of Motor Vehicles will offer “drive-only” licenses to undocumented individuals aged 16 and older who do not legally reside in the country. The Drive Only program was established under a law passed by the General Assembly in 2013.
“Given the anticipated public interest in this matter, I feel it is imperative to expand the scope of the staff-only session to include lawmakers and the public,” Klarides wrote. State DMV Commissioner Melody Currey is scheduled to give an informational presentation to legislative staff on Dec. 8, and Klarides said in a letter to Currey that she hoped the presentation could be offered to the public.
Klarides said in a release that she is concerned about the DMV’s ability to absorb potentially thousands of new customers overnight. The legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal office estimated that the program would cost the state $1.3 million in its first year to hire additional DMV employees to handle the new license applications. But the cost is expected to be offset by gains of $1.5 million in 2015 and $2.8 million in 2016 from additional fees paid by newly licensed drivers.