Spitzer’s License Plan Has G.O.P. Roots

With Republicans making such a fuss over Eliot Spitzer’s plan to allow illegal immigrants to obtain New York State driver’s licenses, it’s worth remembering that the idea was introduced in the state Senate last year by a Republican.

Nick Spano of Westchester, who by the end was essentially a Democrat who happened to vote for Joe Bruno to be majority leader, introduced a bill that would have done the same thing as Spitzer’s initiative.

The bill, S7388-A, was introduced in 2006, right before Spano lost his seat to Democrat Andrea-Stewart Cousins. It was referred to the transportation committee on April 21, and amended on June 12, but never voted on, as far as I know.

Here's some text from the bill.

Acceptable proof of identity shall include, but not be limited to, foreign passports with or without visa stamps, valid documentation issued by United States citizenship and immigration services, and consular photo identification documents. Eligibility for a driver's license shall not be conditioned on a particular immigration status.

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The commissioner may also provide that the application procedure shall include the taking of a photo image or images of the applicant in accordance with rules and regulations prescribed by the commissioner. In addition, the commissioner also shall require that the applicant provide his or her social security number or, with respect to an application for a non-commercial driver's license, a letter or form from the United States Social Security Administration stating that the applicant is not eligible for a social security number or a sworn statement on a form prescribed by the commissioner, under penalty of perjury, that the applicant does not have and is not eligible for a social security number and on which a witness holding a valid driver's license or non-driver identification card issued by the commissioner or having acceptable proof of identity attests, under penalty of perjury, to the identity and address of the applicant