ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Minnesota House has approved the "Drivers Licenses for All" bill that would allow people without proper documentation to get a driver's license in Minnesota.
The bill was approved in the House by a 69 to 60 vote Monday evening after hours of debate and discussion.
Democrat lawmakers say the legislation will make life easier for undocumented people by allowing them legal access to vehicles. The legislation has seen support from advocate groups who help immigrants.
"All Minnesotans deserve to be able to work and to take care of themselves and their families," said Speaker Melissa Hortman. "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."
Republicans argued for amendments to the law mostly concerned with voting. GOP members suggested adding text to the license that reads "not for voting." Another suggestion was to have the noncompliant licenses run vertically which would distinguish them from standard licenses that are printed to run horizontally. It's important to note that someone looking to vote illegally could already obtain a state identification card. Doing so, obviously, would also already be a crime.
"The bill we have at hand, House File 4, has valid concerns," argued Rep. Lisa Demuth. "Because of the lack of our amendments that were taken, it feels to me as if it has been ignored... Those were bipartisan provisions that were worked on over time to ensure trust in our elections. But when we offered the amendments today, they were rejected."
In a tweet, Secretary of State Steve Simon also rejected these claims.
"The Drivers Licenses for All bill will not change Minnesota election laws at all," said Simon. "Many people who are ineligible to vote (like green card holders or sixteen year-olds) already have drivers licenses. For that reason, drivers licenses are not used as proof of citizenship."
The bill will now move on to the Senate.