Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia), Senator Mary Lou Rath (R, C, I – Williamsville) and Assemblyman Dan Burling (R, I, C – Warsaw) were joined today by Genesee and Orleans County officials at a press conference opposing the Governor’s new three-tier driver’s license plan. Joining the State Legislators were Genesee County Clerk, Don Read; Genesee County Sheriff, Gary Maha; Genesee County District Attorney, Larry Friedman; Orleans County Clerk, Karen Lake Maynard; and Orleans County District Attorney, Joe Cardone.
“I sincerely hoped that the Governor would rescind his plan. However, this Governor continues to defy the interest of 72 percent of New Yorkers and he continues to risk the security of 18 million New Yorkers,” commented Hawley, who has gathered over 3,500 petition signatures from area residents that oppose the Governor’s plan.
Despite the Governor’s revisions, the new plan does not address the fact that illegal aliens will be able to obtain valid New York State driver’s licenses. Combined with the new plan causing more red tape for legal New York State citizens, strong opposition against the Governor’s plan has been renewed across the state, and even on a federal level as this topic was included in a recent presidential debate.
“The agreement reached with Homeland Security does not solve the basic issue of licenses for illegal aliens. We are still faced with providing New York State documentation for people who have neither earned it or deserve it. A driver’s license is a privilege and those New York State residents who possess a driver’s license should not have their privilege belittled by granting licenses to those who haven’t earned it. Illegal is illegal,” said Genesee County Clerk, Don Read.
Rath has also been vocal about her opposition to the Governor’s plan and was a co-sponsor of legislation in the Senate that would have blocked his plan. Senate Bill 6484 would have required proof of citizenship (or proof of legal alien status) in order to obtain a driver’s license or identification card. While this bill was passed by the Senate during last week’s special session, it was not addressed in the Assembly – despite Hawley and the Assembly minority conference introducing a similar measure as an amendment.
“The Governor’s ill-advised plan to give licenses to illegal immigrants has been soundly rejected by the people of New York State. It is my hope that he will discontinue any discussion of this kind of program,” stated Rath.
Assemblyman Dan Burling echoed Rath’s and Hawley’s comments regarding the Governor’s ill-conceived attempt to give New York State licenses to illegal aliens. “The Governor needs to listen to his constituents, the vast majority of whom are opposed to his plan,” said Burling.
Additionally, Hawley was among the Assembly minority who has joined a lawsuit against the Governor and State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner, David Swarts. Specifically, the lawsuit addresses that the Governor’s actions are in direct violation of Section 502 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law and that he has defied the legislative process and separation of power.
Hawley stated, “Ironically, over 70 percent of voters elected him Governor and now over 70 percent of New Yorkers want him to drop his illegal plan to give illegal aliens licenses – will he listen?”
The lawsuit was filed Thursday morning at the Albany County Clerk’s office and will be addressed in the State Supreme Court. Spitzer and Swarts will have 20 days, after being served, to respond to the five causes of action outlined in the suit.