The Illinois House will soon take up a bill passed in the Illinois Senate Tuesday that allows illegal immigrants to obtain temporary drivers' licenses and insurance.
Half of the GOP lawmakers in the Illinois Senate voted against the bill. The measure passed, though, with a final vote of 41-14.
Senate Bill 957 would enable about 250,000 illegal immigrants who already drive in Illinois to have a chance to go through drivers testing, receive a special license good for three years and purchase insurance. That means safer roads for Illinoisans, backers of the bill say.
Officials say uninsured immigrants behind the wheel cause $64 million in damage claims every year.
Voting against the measure were Republican senators Tim Bivins, Larry Bomke, Shane Cultra, Dan Duffy, Christine Johnson, John O. Jones, Darin LaHood, Chris Lauzen, David Luechtefeld, Sam McCann, Kyle McCarter and Dave Syverson. Also voting against it were Democratic senators William Haine and Edward Maloney. Democratic Sen. Gary Forby voted “present.”
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, a Democrat, said the proposal is an important public-safety measure and applauded senators for approving it.
“Regardless of legal status, we need to make sure every eligible driver in our state has received the proper training and carries insurance – before they get behind the wheel,” Simon said in a statement e-mailed to IllinoisWatchdog.org.
Some of the state’s top Republican leaders came out in support of the measure — including House Minority Leader Tom Cross and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno. Joining them at a Tuesday news conference were fellow Republicans state Treasurer Judy Barr Topinka and former Gov. Jim Edgar.
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