Support HB 789: Driver's License Issuance

By Chris Ross, JD, Associate Director for Social Concerns

House Judiciary Committee (Mar 13, 2013)

The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) represents the public-policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.

HB 789 would expand the authority of the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to issue or renew a driver’s license, identification card, or moped operator’s permit to an individual who does not have a Social Security number.

In our society, most people rely on driving privileges to get to work, go to the grocery and clothing stores, get children to school and the doctors’ offices. The inability to drive is a serious impediment to fulfilling these basic human needs. Parishes across Maryland witness the difficulty faced by foreign-born residents who are unable to obtain the drivers’ licenses that would enable them to perform such basic tasks.

In addition to assisting Maryland families accomplish their responsibilities, expanding the eligibility for a driver’s license will protect all drivers in the state. Our licenses are important to those with whom we share the road. To earn a license, we must demonstrate that we understand the laws governing our roads and that we possess the skills to navigate them. Further, a driver’s license gives us the opportunity to secure car insurance, thereby protecting not just ourselves, but also our passengers and fellow drivers. In short, all Marylanders benefit when drivers are licensed and insured.

For these reasons, we urge a favorable report on HB 789.