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Vt. Senate committee passes immigrant license bill - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. Senate committee passes immigrant license bill

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

A bill that would grant driving privileges to migrant workers shifts into gear.

About 1,500 migrant workers live in Vermont, some in the country illegally and employed mostly in the dairy industry.

Friday, the Senate Transportation Committee voted 4-1 in favor of creating driving privilege cards. The cards would not qualify as federal IDs, and drivers would need to complete the same testing as required for a regular license.

Committee Chairman Dick Mazza calls the proposal a step in the right direction.

"I think the federal folks have to address the issue. But having said that, if we can make the farming community a little more helpful, we'll do it," said Sen. Dick Mazza, D-Grand Isle.

Workers say being able to drive will allow them to be able to seek medical treatment and go grocery shopping.

Law enforcement officials also speak in favor of IDs so that migrants can interact with police without fearing severe repercussions.

If Vermont offered typical driver's licenses to migrants, the state risks running afoul of federal ID laws.

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