NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A push here in western Mass to get legislation passed to allow immigrants, both documented and undocumented, to get their driver's licenses.
State Representative Lindsay Sabadosa sat down with a big group at the Pioneer Valley Workers Center and Jobs With Justice to talk about a proposed bill designed to make driving in Massachusetts safer and more fair.
We spoke with people who shared their stories about what it's like not having a driver's license.
The bill, an act relative to working family mobility, would help all qualified state residents to apply for a Massachusetts driver's license.
This would be regardless of their immigration status.
Western Mass News spoke with State Representative Lindsay Sabadosa, who says she is passionate about the bill.
"We want to make sure that," Sabadosa tells us. "Our communities are safe, that people are able to get to work, [and] take care of their kids, buy groceries. This bill is a really common sense piece of legislation that makes sure everyone is treated fairly."
We spoke with a woman who says not having a license is something her family deals with every day.
"It's not an easy experience," stated one supporter. "Every day, we need to drive, to be able to take our children to school, [and] to appointments."
According to the National Conference of Legislatures, there are twelve states and the District of Columbia that have laws in place to allow unauthorized immigrants to get a driver's license.
Those include Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Vermont.
Besides Massachusetts, the states of New York and New Jersey are currently considering similar legislation.
An organizer for the event says gathering the community together in support of a bill like this is important.
"We have to organize,," stated one supporter. "To strengthen our community, and to keep our people safe. If there [is] a group of people that are not free and living in fear as the necessity of driving, it is not a luxury. It's a necessity."
The first step for this bill is getting through the Transportation Committee.
A public hearing would be held before final votes are taken.