(April 4) – A bipartisan bill to improve access to a program to reduce the number of unlicensed drivers on Colorado roads passed the House Local Government Committee today.

In 2013, the legislature passed SB13-251, which provided driver’s licenses to all Colorado residents, regardless of immigration status. The program puts more competent, insured drivers on the road.

SB18-108, sponsored in the House by Reps. Jeni Arndt, D-Fort Collins, and Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, removes obstacles that have restricted access to the program.

The bill would allow individuals who have valid Social Security numbers to use them as proof of identity for the immigrant driver’s license program. Currently, an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) is the sole qualifying eligibility document for participation in the program.

The bill would also permit online renewals of licenses granted under the program, removing another bottleneck in a program for which waiting times can still be as long as six months.

“People are actually selling their place on the waiting list,” Rep. Arndt told the committee. “That’s just fundamentally not a good way for people to try to comply with the law in Colorado.”

Without transportation, people have more difficulty finding jobs and keeping them, especially in the agricultural sector, where mass transit options are often nonexistent. This is a problem not only for the farmworkers but also for their employers.

“This is a public safety, community safety and workforce development bill that is intended to work for the entire state of Colorado,” Rep. Singer said.

The Local Government Committee agreed, sending SB18-108 to the Appropriations Committee on an 11-2 vote.

 

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