St. Paul, MN—The “Drivers Licenses For All” campaign is picking up speed after an important legislative victory.
On Wednesday, HF1718, a bill that would increase access to drivers licenses was introduced, voted on, and passed in the Transportation and Transit Policy Committee in the House of Representatives
The bill was proposed by Mujeres en Liderazgo, a group of women organizers in South Minneapolis, who have been organizing in their community for the past 2 years.
On March 4th, the Mujeres held a successful day at the capitol to lobby support for the bill, and numerous supporters made calls to the state representatives during the week leading up to the hearing.
Wednesday, they brought their demands to the state capitol.
Approximately 70 community members and allies, showed their support by holding up their bright green ‘DRIVERS LICENSES FOR ALL” signs as they filed into the room for the hearing. After hearing testimonies from the Mujeres as well as National Lawyers Guild attorney Bruce Nestor, the decision was made: The bill would pass.
Jovita Morales of Mujeres en Liderazgo commented on the victory:
“Our victory yesterday was due to the participation of the community, including visits and phone calls that were made by community members and allies to support the bill. When the politicians looked out in the room yesterday and saw a room full of people, they could not deny the strength and importance of this campaign.”
This bill would increase the types of primary documents that one may present when applying for a drivers license in Minnesota, opening up access to those members of our community that do not meet the current standards, due to the requirement of a social security number.
If this bill becomes a law, the end result will mean more licensed and insured drivers in our streets, thus, safer communities for everyone. The daily lives of many of our community members are negatively affected by not having access to a license; it is a human rights and justice issue for many Minnesotans.
The bill will now go on to the Senate Finance Committee, and will then go back to the House Transportation & Finance Committee.
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