Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Annette Quijano issue the following statement after the panel’s vote on the bill A-4743 expanding access to driver’s licenses for New Jersey residents:
“This legislation from the very beginning has been a complicated work in progress with many moving parts. Ensuring all eligible New Jersey residents have access to greater independence with a driver’s license or identification card in the wake of Real IDs also posing an affordability and access concern required a keen attention to detail. One of the main purposes of the legislation was to ensure safer roads and more insured drivers in New Jersey.
“I have consistently met with representatives of various department and agencies in our state as well as advocacy groups to create a bill that meets the greater intent, which is driver’s licenses for all.
“I visited California to see what they have done, right and wrong, in order to craft a fair and responsible measure that works for New Jersey. I also met with consulates to discuss a variety of topics related to our efforts including how they verify documents.
“This legislation creates a pathway for a New Jersey resident to acquire a driver’s license, register their vehicle and insure their vehicle. This bill does not impact any U.S Citizenship requirements.
“We know this legislation will change thousands of lives in the Garden State, a state with both urban, suburban and rural communities that require residents to drive a car to get from point A to point B.
“We have heard over the course of two years residents and advocates raise their voices in favor of this legislation. I want to say clearly that we heard you. Our intention has always been to put forth a bill that is effective and takes into account the concerns of all stakeholders. We would rather get it right than create more obstacles for residents or an unnecessary burden on state departments.
“The focus of this hearing today was to listen to all who signed up to testify in favor or against. We will continue to consider proposals on the bill that we received as late as Sunday. I believe this was a productive day and a step in the legislative process.”