Thursday, May 23, 2013

SB 303 Continues to Advance

Oh, yes. That's right. We have even more big news emanating from Carson City today as the Nevada Legislature races toward the finish line.

The Assembly Transportation Committee held a hearing on SB 303, the bill authorizing driver's authorization cards for immigrant drivers. Senators Mo Denis (D-North Las Vegas) and Ruben Kihuen (D-Las Vegas) stepped over to the other side of the Legislature Building to testify on "The Nevada Highway Safety Act". And yes, that's what was discussed at the hearing.

NV SB 303: bill not about immigration, but about public safety. - @RubenKihuen #nvleg driving permits

SB303 is a Public safety issue NOT an immigration issue so we urge the NV Assembly to pass this bill. #NVLeg #TimeIsNow

There was plenty of discussion on how more insured and documented drivers means safer roads. Oh, and of course, there was discussion of the $22 annual fee (as opposed to $22 for a standard driver's license for 5 years). This also delivers more revenue for the state budget right when the state needs more.

There was plenty of testimony in Carson City, as well as in Las Vegas. Several community activists told their own personal stories in Las Vegas. And a representative from the Washoe County Sheriff's Department testified in favor of SB 303 in Carson City. And for the record, no one (!!!) testified against the bill.

Oh, and we even heard this from the Nevada DMV representative offering neutral testimony.

"@BlancaSprkls: Don't hate! The #dmv is officially the happiest place on earth! #nvleg #SB303" #DriverAuthorization (don't tell Disney)

No vote was taken today. But considering the lopsided 20-1 vote (!!!) in favor of SB 303 in the Senate, its passage in the Assembly is all but assured. And so far, it looks likely that Governor Brian Sandoval (R) will sign the bill into law.

While SB 303 advocates tried to focus everyone's attention on the public safety matters addressed by this bill, the issue of immigration reform continued to linger in the background. After all, Nevada is now in this position because Congress has yet to pass any kind of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). Senator Dean Heller (R-46%) has yet to say what he will do with the US Senate CIR bill, Reps. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) & Mark Amodei (R-Carson City) have yet to say what they will do with the emerging US House CIR bill, and they're all facing increasing pressure from the 21st Century Know Nothings to kill any & all attempts at CIR.

So against this complicated backdrop, SB 303 continues to advance. We don't know yet what Congress will ultimately do on CIR, but that isn't stopping the Nevada Legislature from taking action on this (in the limited capacity that it can).

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