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Legislature should leave driver card bill alone

Senators must defeat House Bill 4054 proposal


Last year, concerned citizens gathered enough signatures to create Veto Referral No. 301, sending the new driver card bill for illegal immigrants, Senate Bill 833, to the voters to decide this year.

The original title of the referral said that SB 833 would give driver cards to people who couldn’t prove legal presence in the United States — a crucial point to many voters, and the only fact that driver card advocates wanted to hide.

Subsequently, on Feb. 27, a majority of the House gave itself permission under House Bill 4054, to re-write the title of Referral No. 301 to suit the purposes of driver card advocates.

The new title will promise a “limited purpose and duration driver card for individuals who prove Oregon residency and meet driving requirements.” A voter looking for a referral about illegal alien driver cards may not understand that this is it, or whether he should vote for or against it.

Representatives cite legal precedent for censoring the opposition’s title, but they should expect deep resentment from the thousands of Oregonians who followed every rule to remand the driver card law to the ballot with a title that voters will readily understand.

The intent behind such subversion and high-handedness undermines our system of government by and for the people even if the letter of the law permits it.

This cynical legislative ploy creates two casualties. One is our system, by passing a law in the middle of a contest to undermine and obfuscate a valid citizen referral.

Lawmakers may get their way by suppressing a popular appeal against a bad law, but at the cost of their credibility.

The other casualty is truth, by falsely declaring SB 833 will ensure illegal aliens will drive insured when SB 833 works on the honor system. Instead of being forced to carry irrevocable insurance in recognition of the fact the applicants are by definition lawbreakers, the drivers may cancel their policies after leaving the Department of Motor Vehicles, as they often did before 2008.

No one would know until they have an accident. The DMV doesn’t track dropped insurance policies, and SB 833 doesn’t require such scrutiny.

In addition, SB 833 protects foreign drug dealers by shielding them from the car searches that getting caught without a driver’s license would have triggered.

SB 833 also promises continued identity theft fraud, by allowing the flimsy Matricula Consular card as identification. Law enforcement has noted how frequently they acquire new ones with different names as the need arises. Does SB 833 make you feel safer now?

Our recourse against such outrageous laws will suffer unless the Senate defeats HB 4054. Our sore-loser representatives have already pushed a diversionary referral title closer to reality.

Local state Rep. Margaret Dougherty voted for both the driver card bill and the re-write bill. Sens. Richard Devlin and Ginny Burdick voted for the driver card too. I’m curious if they’ll also vote to censor their constituents’ opposition when HB 4054 goes to the Senate.

Citizens who value their right to be heard will be interested in their vote.

Lyneil Vandermolen is a Tualatin resident and vice president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform.




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