Let’s Drive NJ Campaign Strongly Praises Introduction of Legislation A4743/S3229 Which Addresses Needs of 500,000 Residents to Have Access to A Driver’s License in New Jersey

The legislation will create two licenses options, the REAL ID Act purpose driver’s  license and a standard driver's license option, that will allow all qualified residents to access drivers licenses


The Let’s Drive NJ campaign strongly praises the introduction of legislation A4743 in the Assembly and S3229 in the Senate which addresses the looming issue of REAL ID Act implementation in New Jersey by creating two options for drivers licenses. As New Jersey gets ready to roll out the REAL ID Act by October 2019, many residents could be left out due to the higher requirements imposed by the federal legislation.


The REAL ID Act imposes higher requirements for the REAL ID Act purpose driver’s licenses and identification cards that will be needed for certain federal purposes such a boarding an airplane or entering a federal building beginning in 2020. However, the implementation will also leave out many residents who may not be able to access a driver’s license. Additionally, some residents may not want their privacy infringed upon by the REAL ID Act’s requirement for personal documents to be scanned and stored in an MVC database. The standard default license option will allow residents who could be left out by REAL ID Act implementation to continue contributing to the economy and providing for their families and households.


We thank prime sponsors Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20) and Senator Joseph Vitale (D-19) for introduction and strong support of the legislation. As we wait for more information, we urge lawmakers to ensure that this legislation address the needs of all marginalized communities which will be left out of the REAL ID Act implementation including those who are formerly incarcerated and cannot use their county jail issued ID and prison issued ID as identification at MVC; members of the transgender community whose documents do not match their gender identity; undocumented residents; homeless or low-income individuals who cannot easily access important documents, and residents including citizens who do not want their personal documents uploaded to a government database. Many other states such as Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Utah, and Vermont have implemented such standard driver’s license options for residents with REAL ID Act implementation.


We also thank the primary co -sponsors of Assembly bill A4743: Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, Assemblyman Gary Schaer, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Assemblyman Joe Danielsen and the o primary co-sponsors of the Senate bill S3229: Senator Joseph Cryan, Senator Teresa Ruiz, Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez, and Senator Nellie Pou.


Endorsing partners of the Let’s Drive NJ campaign offered the following statements:


“This legislation is an important step for confronting privacy and civil rights concerns raised by the implementation of the Real ID Act in our state. New Jerseyans need a default license that doesn’t jeopardize our security or put New Jersey’s most vulnerable communities at risk,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha. “Offering a standard basic driver’s license as an alternative to the license for Real ID Act purposes is the only way for the Garden State to give all New Jerseyans the choice to opt out of the ill-conceived and discriminatory federal mandate.”


“Allowing all New Jerseyans who can prove their identity and in-state residence to be trained, licensed, and insured will make our roads safer and promote family well-being. This policy will also boost the state’s economy, as New Jersey families thrive most when they can get to work on time and provide for themselves and their loved ones,” said Erika J. Nava, Policy Analyst with New Jersey Policy Perspective. “In most parts of the state, having a car and being able to drive is central to achieving that goal. Expanding access to driver's licenses is crucial to ensuring all residents of the state can fully participate in their communities and the broader economy.”   


"In a state where driving is a necessity, New Jersey residents require a driver’s license to best care for their families, workplaces, and communities. Yet, the current law unnecessarily restricts access to driver’s licenses in ways that needlessly deny some of our most vulnerable, which can include financially-disadvantaged veterans, various categories of immigrants, and survivors of violence. Veterans for American Ideals-NY/NJ supports A4743/S3229, bills which responsibly addresses this issue," said Dr. Troy Mack, co-chair of Veterans of American Ideals NY/NJ. "Creation of an alternative standard basic license, one that complements rather than replaces New Jersey’s existing option, is a solution that supports public safety, upholds democratic principles, and is good for the Garden State."


“Every New Jersey citizen should be able to have access to a driver’s license or state issued ID,” said Jay Rehman CAIR-NJ’s Legislative Director. “This bill will allow many of the most vulnerable communities such as senior citizens who may not have access to required documents to obtain a Real ID, or undocumented individuals who cannot partake in civic life because they lack access to a state issued I.D the ability to obtain a New Jersey issued identification card.”

“Garden State Equality is proud to announce our support of A4743/S3229 introduced by our allies, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20) and Senator Joseph Vitale (D-19). All qualified residents deserve access to driver’s licenses, and this bill will ensure that many New Jerseyans who have been unjustly left out, such as formerly incarcerated individuals; homeless and low-income individuals and families; transgender people whose documents do not accurately match their gender identity; immigrants, including undocumented immigrants; certain senior citizens; and survivors of domestic violence who are unable to retrieve all their documents. LGBT people are represented in each of these categories, and we stand united with all marginalized communities and those seeking social justice,” said Aaron Potenza, Policy Director, Garden State Equality.


“The Christian faith is based on our love for God and in the same way, in loving our neighbors. Our love for our neighbor is made visible when we seek justice for those who are in disadvantage in our communities, making them vulnerable to unfair treatment that puts them and their loved ones at risk. Our Sacred Scriptures challenges us to treat every person who live among us as equals, and to love them in the same way we love ourselves (Leviticus 19:33-34),” said Reverend Sammy Arroyo, Salvation and Social Justice. “Bills A4743/S3229 will help our most marginalized community members live without fear in our state and will allow them to fully participate in our civil life. It will also enhance their opportunities to contribute to our states economy. We call on our State leaders to pass this sensible and fair law.”


“Drivers licenses are a necessity in our state. Tragically, some of our residents live out of their cars; they need a drivers license in order to maintain their jobs and their limited shelter. Others are re-entering society after incarceration and are barred opportunities for lack of a driver's license,” said Karol Y. Ruiz, Co-President, Wind of The Spirit. Residents without immigration documents are forced to suffer dangerous weather conditions and exuberant transportation costs just to get their children to school or to the doctor, and themselves to work. If we truly are for the people of New Jersey then this legislation is well overdue.”


“We are glad to see that as New Jersey introduces the Real ID program, it is also taking the right steps to offer privacy protections and expand access to drivers licenses to all qualified drivers across the state. By creating the alternative standard license, more New Jersey drivers will be tested and insured, and held accountable for their driving record, creating safer roads for everyone,” said Megan Hurley with CATA - The Farmworkers Support Committee. “We hope this bill will move forward quickly as it will benefit many vulnerable communities, including the undocumented immigrant population that CATA works closely with and who have been advocating for this for many years.”


"The New Jersey Muslim Lawyers' Association passionately supports A4743/S3229 that will create an alternative standard driver's license option for New Jersey residents. We believe the Let's Drive NJ campaign and the bill's legislative sponsors are putting forth a policy that could increase economic opportunity almost overnight for over 466,000 New Jerseyans. Making sure that these New Jerseyans have access to a license means they will be insured on the road, and make them, their families, and all drivers more safe on our roads,” said Adil Ahmed, Board member of New Jersey Muslim Lawyers’ Association. “Allowing all New Jersey residents to access to a license will also ensure that they are not the victim of predatory practices when it comes to financing vehicle purchases and obtaining car repairs, which as all New Jerseyans know  is a regular cost and expense we all face due to our state's crumbling infrastructure. An alternative license will benefit our vulnerable communities who face difficult barriers in obtaining a driver's license. In particular, it will benefit New Jersey Muslims who are senior citizens, and survivors of domestic violence who cannot retrieve their documents. Fundamentally, this bill creates a more just New Jersey, and our goal is to create a state that is fair and equitable for all New Jerseyans."


"We call on our state to take action to pass legislation that expands access to drivers' licenses this year. We can't wait any longer. Immigrant communities are under unprecedented attack: Dreamers and TPS holders could soon lose their ability to have a driver's license, and many of us fear deportation just from taking our children to school,” said Olga Armas, Make the Road New Jersey leader. New Jersey must stand up to give us the ability to apply for a license. It's about keeping our families together, and keeping our roads safe. We thank Assemblywoman Quijano and Senator Vitale for their leadership and call for swift action in our state legislature this year."


“Reform Jewish Voice of New Jersey proudly supports this legislation which will provide access to an alternative standard driver’s license for all New Jerseyans, regardless of immigration status, gender identity, homelessness, or other current disqualifiers for drivers’ licenses.  Our faith demands of us concern for and welcome to the stranger in our midst. By limiting barriers to obtaining drivers’ licenses, we help our most vulnerable residents participate fully in civic life, and we help them to feel safer both on the road and in their communities,” said Liz Cohen with Reform Jewish Voice of New Jersey. “With the alternative standard driver’s license, our neighbors will feel less fearful of reporting crimes to police, or of being deported due to a minor traffic violation. Through this simple but powerful act we help normalize the lives of our neighbors, enabling them to drive to work or to their children’s doctors’ appointments. At the same time we also make our roads safer through regulated training, testing and insurance procurement. This is a practical and ethical measure, working effectively in 9 other states around the country. We urge our legislators and governor to support and pass this measure without delay.”


The Let’s Drive NJ Campaign is supported by a diverse array of faith, labor and community organizations from across the state. More information about the campaign can be found at LetsDriveNJ.org.