‘Driver's licenses for all’ becomes law in Minnesota

New legislation that aims to provide "driver's licenses for all" has officially been signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz.

The official signing is the culmination of a long-running campaign to give a currently estimated 81,000 undocumented immigrants the right to drive legally in Minnesota, according to a news release.

After progressing through the DFL-controlled House and Senate, Democrat lawmakers have said the legislation will make life easier for undocumented people by allowing them legal access to driving vehicles. The legislation has seen support from advocate groups.

"Ensuring drivers in our state are licensed and carry insurance makes the roads safer for all Minnesotans," said Gov. Walz in a statement after the signing. "As a longtime supporter of this bill, I am proud to finally sign it into law, making our roads safer and moving us toward our goal of making Minnesota the best state to raise a family for everyone."

According to an announcement from Walz, the bill will "increase safety across Minnesota by ensuring that all drivers are licensed, insured, and have taken driver’s education courses."

"All Minnesotans deserve to be able to work and to take care of themselves and their families," said House Speaker Melissa Hortman of the legislation previously. "Ensuring everyone has access to driver’s licenses will improve public safety for everyone, grow the state economy, and treat immigrant communities with the dignity and respect they deserve."

However, Republicans have previously argued that broadening license access could further lead to unintended consequences such as election and benefits fraud.

The law reverses a 2003 rule change by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty, whose administration barred people without legal status from getting licenses in the name of security after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.