BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed a bill Friday that would allow immigrants to the country to illegally obtain state driver’s licenses in Massachusetts.
The veto came just a day after the Massachusetts House and Senate gave final approval to the measure, sending it to Baker’s office.
Baker said he couldn’t sign the legislation “because it requires the Motor Vehicle Registry to issue state credentials to people without the ability to verify their identity.”
“As a result, a standard Massachusetts driver’s license will no longer confirm that a person is who they say they are,” he added in a letter to lawmakers.
Both houses, dominated by Democratic lawmakers, passed the measure with margins wide enough to override a Baker veto.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia already have similar laws.
According to the proposal, those who are in the country illegally could apply for a driver’s license if they can provide the Motor Vehicle Registry with a foreign passport or consular identification document.
Individuals would also need to provide one of five additional documents: a driver’s license from another US state or territory; a birth certificate; a foreign national identity card; a foreign driving licence; or a marriage certificate or divorce decree from any US state or territory.
Proponents say the measure would make driving safer in Massachusetts by requiring immigrants to show they can drive a car properly and have obtained the necessary insurance in the event of an accident.
Baker said the bill also restricts the registry’s ability to share citizenship information with entities tasked with ensuring that only citizens register and vote in elections.
“This bill significantly increases the risk of non-citizens being registered to vote,” he added.
If lawmakers vote to override Baker’s veto, the proposal will go into effect July 1, 2023.