Committee Vote to Expand Licenses Brings NJ Closer to Fairer Access for All Drivers
For Immediate Release
TRENTON – A bill to expand access to driver’s licenses in New Jersey advanced in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, bringing New Jersey one step closer to licenses for all. With the yes vote of A4743, the companion bill, S3229, goes before the Senate Transportation Committee for a hearing where members are scheduled to vote, paving the way toward greater freedom for a range of New Jersey communities, stronger road and public safety, and economic benefits.
“New Jersey is one step closer to becoming a fairer, safer Garden State now that the bill expanding driver’s license access has advanced out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee,” said ACLU-NJ Senior Staff Attorney Farrin Anello, who testified before the committee. “This reform is critical to allow people to carry out the day-to-day tasks of their lives, care for their families, and fully participate in their communities.”
A4743/S3229 would allow over 700,000 more New Jersey residents to access driver’s licenses and state ID cards.
Since passage of the federal Real ID Act, a 2005 federal law that imposed a de facto national ID, the ACLU-NJ has pushed for more inclusive and less invasive options for all New Jerseyans’ identification. The REAL ID Act licensing system poses serious privacy risks and makes it difficult, if not impossible, for marginalized groups to verify their identity. A4743/S3229 includes important privacy protections and provides a robust alternative to a Real ID Act license. This commonsense policy fills a void in privacy protections in New Jersey and creates opportunities for regulated access to individuals’ data when necessary.
Expanding access to driver’s licenses would strengthen road and public safety by increasing the number of tested, insured, and licensed drivers in New Jersey. It is estimated that doing so would generate a projected $90 million in annual revenue that would benefit the statewide economy.
“In a state where residents often identity themselves by highway exit, driving is a necessity for everything from shopping for groceries to dropping children off at school,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha. “We thank Chairwoman Annette Quijano and all of the other bill sponsors and supportive members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee for their leadership in advancing this bill, which has never been more important to pass. We call on the Senate to advance this bill out of committee for the entire legislature to consider, so that New Jersey can become the 15th state to recognize the importance of qualified drivers having access to licenses.”
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