A bill increasing the number of DMV offices providing driver licenses and IDs cards for undocumented immigrants is headed to Gov. Jared Polis’ desk.
A spokesperson for Polis’ office said the governor intends to sign the bill, which would require a minimum of 10 offices where undocumented immigrants can apply for appointments to obtain state IDs.
The House on Thursday voted 42-22 to approve the bill. State Rep. Hugh McKean of Loveland broke from party ranks to side with Democrats during Thursday’s vote. The bill had bipartisan support from the start; Republican state Sen. Don Coram of Montrose was one of the bill’s primary sponsors. The bill had the backing of the state’s dairy and livestock industry.
State Rep. Rochelle Galindo of Greeley was a co-sponsor of the bill. She said in a release earlier this month the ID program is “necessary to the health and wealth” of her community. She cited the state’s agriculture industry as an economic driver for the state.
“Among other things, this bill will also improve the safety of our roads,” state Rep. Jonathan Singer of Longmont said in a release earlier this month. “By providing the proper testing, training and insurance, it will improve the safety of our public and our roads.”
There are currently only three DMV offices providing first-time applicants appointments, with a fourth office providing renewals. The bill doesn’t specify where the offices need to be located, though Galindo previously said she hopes the program is expanded to her home district in Weld County.
Immigrant advocates lauded the bill’s passing this week, as the program was one they wanted to see expanded during this year’s legislative session with Democrats in control of both chambers. Siena Mann, Southern Regional Organizer at the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, said in a release this week that all Coloradans should have access to a driver’s license.
“This bill will make it possible for rural workers and community members to have access to a driver’s license without missing days of work, having to travel long distances and waiting months for appointments,” Mann said in the release.