Campaign to repeal a Massachusetts law related to driver’s license applications submits signatures ahead of the August 24 deadline

Fair and Secure Massachusetts submitted signatures on August 18 for a veto referendum to repeal House Bill 4805 (H4805), a bill to prohibit registrars from inquiring about an applicant’s citizenship or immigration status when applying for driver’s licenses and motor vehicle registrations.

On June 9, 2022, the Massachusetts General Court overrode Gov. Charles Baker’s (R) veto. Instead of citizenship or immigration information, the bill allows registrars to accept two documents that prove the date of birth and identity of the applicant, including foreign passports, birth certificates, or consular identification documents. Massachusetts requires a two-thirds majority in the General Court to override a veto. At the time of the override vote, Democrats held such a majority.

In the Senate, the override passed by a 32-8 margin, with 32 Democrats voting to override and five Democrats joining all three Republicans to sustain Baker’s veto. The House voted 119-36 to override the veto, with all 111 Democrats voting to override and eight Democrats joining all 28 Republicans to sustain the veto.

On June 13, 2022, Maureen Maloney and Kevin Dube filed paperwork with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance to create the Fair And Secure Massachusetts committee. The veto referendum was cleared for signature gathering on June 27. Among the sponsors of the referendum were former state Sen. Dean Tran (R), Rep. Marc Lombardo (R), state Senate candidate Cecilia Calabrese (R), and Rep. Colleen Garry (D).

Maureen Maloney, one of the sponsors, said, “I do not think that we should be rewarding people for being in the country illegally. I think the RMV [Registry of Motor Vehicles] is not equipped to properly vet people coming to the United States from over 100 different countries.”

Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D), who supports H4805, said, “We know in other states that have passed this bill, passed a form of driver’s licenses for immigrants, that hit-and-run accidents go down by 10 percent.”

Fair and Secure Massachusetts submitted around 40,120 signatures on Aug. 18 and was planning to continue gathering additional signatures before the final deadline. In Massachusetts, the number of signatures required to qualify a veto referendum for the ballot is equal to 1.5% of the total votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, which equals 40,120 valid signatures. The signature deadline is August 24.

Voters in Massachusetts last decided on a veto referendum in 2018. Question 3 concerned a law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. It was upheld by 67.82% of voters.

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