By State Representative Steve Owens, State Representative John Lawn & State Senator Will Brownsberger
This past June, the legislature approved an important advancement for road safety and immigrant rights in Massachusetts by voting the Work and Family Mobility Act into law. This law allows all Massachusetts residents to apply for a driver’s license, regardless of their immigration status.
Years in the making and backed by law enforcement, immigrant advocates, and organized labor, the law passed overwhelmingly with support of more than three-quarters of the Massachusetts House and Senate. This new measure will ensure that all drivers on our roads are licensed and insured.
Unfortunately, this law is now in jeopardy; an opposition group obtained enough signatures to attempt to repeal the law on the November 8th ballot. Now the voters of the Commonwealth will decide its fate. As Watertown’s state legislative delegation, we strongly support voting YES on Question 4 this Election Day to preserve the Work and Family Mobility Act and improve road safety for all Massachusetts drivers.
Endorsed by the Massachusetts Major Cities Chiefs of Police and the majority of Massachusetts Sheriffs and District Attorneys — including Middlesex County DA Marian Ryan and Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian — Yes on 4 has overwhelming support from law enforcement. They understand our roads are safer with more licensed drivers. Allowing all residents to apply for a driver’s license means ensuring that every Massachusetts driver has fulfilled our state’s testing, training, and insurance requirements. It also means that every driver will have a verified ID.
This is a tested idea: 16 other states, including our neighbors in Connecticut, New York and Vermont, have passed similar laws and have seen marked increases in road safety. States that have collected data show impressive results, including a 10 percent decrease in hit and run accidents in California, and an 80 percent decrease in the rate of uninsured drivers in Utah. With more insured drivers on the road, the cost of auto insurance drops for all drivers.
The law preserved by Yes on 4 does not allow non-citizens to vote nor does it automatically register non-citizens to vote. Non-citizens such as Green Card holders or those with student visas are already allowed to apply for driver’s licenses, as are 16- and 17-year-olds who are too young to vote. The law puts in place stringent proof of identity requirements for immigrants without status who apply for licenses and keeps in place all safeguards against non-citizen voting.
Yes on 4 enables all state residents to safely get to work, drive their kids to school, and go to the doctor. Yes on 4 improves public safety and well-being in the Commonwealth by ensuring more drivers on the roads are properly trained, tested, and insured. If you are in favor of safer roads, we encourage you to please vote Yes on 4 this Election Day.