Bill Description: Senate Bill 1081 would create a restricted driver's license that could be obtained without proving citizenship or legal residency in the U.S.
Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?
Senate Bill 1081 would amend eight sections of Idaho Code and create one new one in order to establish a new class of driver's license known as a "restricted driver's license."
What makes this license unique is that someone can obtain it without providing a Social Security Number or proof of legal residency in the United States.
The Statement of Purpose for Senate Bill 1081 claims that this measure would "improve Idaho’s road safety, ensure more drivers on Idaho roads are covered by insurance, enhance driver education and training for all Idahoans, improve safety of law enforcement officers, reduce the severity and extent of motor vehicle collisions, and generate additional state revenue for Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) programs."
In truth, none of these claims can be proven. Some are highly suspect, such as the claim that offering driver's licenses to individuals illegally present in the U.S. would "reduce the severity and extent of motor vehicle collisions." The severity of a motor vehicle collision is not dependent on whether a driver is licensed.
Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?
The Fiscal Note for Senate Bill 1081 estimates "$92,000 for startup costs and $296,778 for program operation." It claims, though, that the program would be "net revenue positive," apparently anticipating tens of thousands of people applying for restricted driver's licenses. The fact remains that there are hard costs involved in creating this new program, and there are no definitive guarantees that they will be offset by fees.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
Current Idaho law says, "The department shall not issue any driver's license, any instruction permit, privileges or right to drive and if issued, may revoke or cancel the driver's license of a person who … is not lawfully present in the United States."
Senate Bill 1081 amends Section 49-303(14), Idaho Code, to add "except the person may be issued a restricted driver's license pursuant to section 49-307B, Idaho Code."
There should be no doubt about the purpose of Senate Bill 1081. It is creating a new class of driver's license, primarily for individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.
Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency, accountability, or election integrity? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency, accountability, or election integrity?
One additional point to consider:
The Statement of Purpose for Senate Bill 1081 claims that a restricted driver's license would "be limited to driving purposes only, it would have a distinguishable appearance, and conspicuous words of limitation to ensure the card is not used for voting. …"
This sounds like a reasonable protection. But there is no guarantee that a tired and overworked poll worker might not mistake this restricted driver's license for a standard one and allow an ineligible person to vote.
The possibility of this happening may not be high, but it is worth considering that someone who enters a country illegally might be inclined to attempt to vote illegally as well.