Massachusetts Voters to Weigh in on Law to Grant Undocumented Immigrants Driver’s Licenses | News

Massachusetts voters will decide the fate of a recently passed measure to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses during Tuesday’s election.

In May, the state legislature passed a law directing the Registry of Motor Vehicles to refrain from soliciting documents proving immigration status, paving the way for undocumented immigrants to become licensed drivers. The following month, Governor Charlie D. Baker ’79 vetoed the measure, but he was overridden by Democrats in the state legislature.

In response to the law’s survival, newly formed Fair and Secure Massachusetts collected the necessary signatures to put the law up for referendum. If passed, Ballot Question Four will affirm the law’s passage.

In addition to Ballot Question Four, Massachusetts voters will decide three other referendum questions, including an ongoing fight over a proposal to change the state’s tax system.

Ballot Question Four

The Proponents of Question Four, including the group Safer Roads Massachusetts, say the law will reduce accidents and the number of uninsured drivers while helping immigrants by providing a means for them to drive legally and obtain an ID card. The passage of the law came after decades of advocacy on the issue.

Paul Diego Craney — a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, which is opposing the passage of Ballot Question Four — said the measure would not improve safety and called it unsustainable.

“The Registry of Motor Vehicles — the RMV — is not capable of processing these complicated immigration matters,” Craney said.

A recent University of Massachusetts Amherst poll showed 51 percent of registered voters support the measure, while 39 percent oppose it.

Ballot Question One

Voters will also weigh in on an amendment to the state constitution that would create a “millionaire’s tax” for Massachusetts’ top earners and exclusively allocate the increased revenue toward education and public transportation. If passed, the amendment would impose a 4 percent tax on annual incomes above $1 million.

The amendment’s proponents claim the tax would generate an additional $2 billion in revenue.

Andrew Farnitano, a spokesperson for Fair Share for Massachusetts, which has urged residents to vote yes on Ballot Question One, said the question’s supporters are “representing working people.”

Dan Cence, a spokesperson for the Coalition to Stop the Tax Hike Amendment, called the measure “ill-convinced” and poorly timed in a written statement.

“Question 1’s proposed Tax Hike Amendment will impact homeowners, small business owners, and retirees – all to provide lawmakers in Beacon Hill with funds to appropriate where they choose,” Cence wrote.

Fair Share for Massachusetts has raised over $26 million in support of Question One, while the Coalition to Stop the Tax Hike Amendment has raised $13 million.

Ballot Question Two

If passed, Ballot Question Two will set a cap on non-patient related costs for dental insurance companies. Companies would be required to allocate 83 percent of spending toward patient care.

Massachusetts Dental Care Providers for Better Dental Benefits argue the measure would improve the quality of dental insurance by ensuring more money is spent on patient coverage and care than administrative costs and advertising. The group has raised over $6.9 million to support the bill.

Question Two opponent — the Committee to Protect Access to Quality Dental Care — argues the measure would increase the cost of dental care and has raised more than $6.2 million.

Ballot Question Three

If passed, Ballot Question Three would double the maximum number of alcohol licenses a business can hold from nine to 18 by 2031.

Currently, businesses are capped at selling alcohol to just nine storefronts, regardless of how many locations they have. Proponents to double the license cap argue the measure would make it more convenient to purchase alcohol by increasing the number of stores where it is available.

The measure would further require that alcohol be sold at employee kiosks rather than self-checkouts to prevent minors from illegally purchasing it. Under the proposed law, fines for alcohol sale infractions would be based on the business’ total sales, rather than their total alcohol sales.

Baker has said Ballot Question Three is the only measure he will support.

—Staff writer Yusuf S. Mian can be reached at yusuf.mian@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @yusuf_mian2.

—Staff writer Charlotte P. Ritz-Jack can be reached at charlotte.ritz-jack@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @Charritzjack.



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