Massachusetts House Speaker Ron Mariano: ‘I Recognize the Value’ In Driver’s Licenses For Illegal Immigrants

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Driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants?

Massachusetts House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) says he sees “value” in it, according to State House News Service.

This comes as The Boston Globe published an editorial endorsing the idea earlier this week. There is a refiled proposal in the Massachusetts legislature to do accomplish it, dubbed the Work & Family Mobility Act (HD.448, SD.237).

The Work & Family Mobility Act never came up for a vote in the previous legislative session that ended in early January.

Mariano made his first public statement on the matter as House speaker this week.

“As the former chair of the Financial Services Committee, with experience working on auto insurance legislation, I recognize the value in bringing all drivers under the same public safety, licensing and insurance structures,” Mariano told State House News Service. “As we enter a new session, I look forward to getting a sense from the House Membership on this issue and related bills as they move through the legislative process.”

In the last session, the Work & Family Mobility Act received an affirmative vote out of the Transportation Committee, 14-4, but never moved past the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

While the state’s Republican governor, Charlie Baker, opposes the idea, Senate President Karen Spilka told GBH radio in September 2019 that she backs the proposal. She said at the time that it would help educate drivers and get them insurance coverage.

Eva Millona, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, also backs the bill. She told State House News Service that she is happy to see  Mariano’s support for it.

“Given the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on our Black, brown and immigrant communities, it is also a public health imperative,” she said. “We commend Speaker Mariano’s vision and we look forward to continuing to work with him, our legislative partners and the Driving Families Forward Coalition to pass the Work and Family Mobility Act once and for all.”