Two weeks ago, Governor Spitzer changed NYS Department of Motor Vehicles policies in an effort to grant driverís licenses to illegal aliens. Aside from this action being unwarranted, it is blatantly illegal, endangers homeland security and circumvents the democratic process. I am one of a growing number of legislators, good-government groups and other elected officials across the state rallying in a non-partisan effort to thwart the governorís rash actions.
Under Section 502, subsection 1, of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, the governor and the commissioner of DMV would be in direct violation of this state law that requires a Social Security number be provided to obtain a driverís license if their proposal was enacted. It also violates the federal Real ID Act, meaning a New York state driverís license will lose its status as a secure, government-issued identification card, and will no longer be used for activities as routine for New Yorkers as crossing the border into Canada.
This week the governor is again trying to overstep his authority, by threatening elected county clerks, demanding they implement DMV policies that would violate state law. His threat to sue them into compliance is uncalled for and the line has to be drawn here, at the state level.
My Assembly Minority colleagues and I are taking action to block the governorís threats through passage of ďThe County Clerk Protection ActĒ Ė to defend and indemnify county clerks who follow the law, upholding their sworn oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, by refusing to implement Governor Spitzerís proposal. Current law states that if a county clerk is brought up on charges, it then falls to the taxpayers in that particular county to pay costs associated with the legal action. Taxpayers in our state are already overburdened and should not pay the legal bills for the rash actions of the governor. This legislation should also prevent the governor from removing county clerks from office who refuse to enact his proposal.
This on-going battle is an example of Governor Spitzerís leadership method, which is the same aggressive style he used as Attorney General: bully someone until they comply. He should realize that a governor is someone who works to resolve differences, not coerce compliance. Changes of this nature necessitate public hearings and public input before making decisions.
Furthermore, such changes should be done in cooperation with the state Legislature, as required by law. It should not be handled administratively, rather it should adhere to the democratic process this country was founded on and I am calling on Governor Spitzer to rescind his actions and adhere to these principles.
If you agree Governor Spitzer should not grant driverís licenses to illegal aliens, I am passing a petition to collect signatures of residents in the 129th Assembly District to urge the governor to reconsider and rescind his actions before any legal recourse is necessary. I encourage you to help by obtaining a petition from my district office by calling (315) 781-2030; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or stopping by 607 W. Washington St, Suite 2, Geneva, NY.