We are one month into the 2023-2024 Minnesota legislative session, and already Minnesota progressives are working to create laws that support Minnesotans in every corner of the state.
With a historic class of legislators, a historic budget surplus, and a historic progressive trifecta, it comes as no surprise that the first items on the progressive agenda have been paramount, from codifying the right to abortion to planning massive investments in our public schools.
Now, progressives in the Minnesota Legislature are working to pass Driver’s Licenses for All, legislation allowing all Minnesotans, regardless of immigration status, to obtain a driver’s license.
What is Driver’s Licenses for All?
In Minnesota, only individuals who pass a driver’s test and prove legal immigration status are allowed to receive a driver’s license. That means the estimated 81,000 undocumented immigrants living in Minnesota are without access to our safe and legal shared roads.
Simply put, Driver’s licenses for All would allow Minnesotans without immigration status to take a driver’s written and road test to pursue a legal license.
Currently, eighteen states allow undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses. And in states with similar laws, there were significant decreases in road-related accidents and the number of uninsured drivers when undocumented people were allowed to obtain driver’s licenses.
There are upwards of 30,700 children in Minnesota with parents who lack immigration status. With access to legal IDs, families across Minnesota can enroll their children in school, visit doctors, travel to employment, and so much more.
Minnesota’s youngest senator is the driver’s license champion
When first-year Senator Zaynab Mohamed won her election, she became one of three first Black women, the first Somali woman, and the youngest woman elected to the Minnesota Senate.
Now, she is the chief author of the Driver’s Licenses for All legislation in the Minnesota Senate.
Senator Mohamed believes that every Minnesotan deserves the ability to connect to family, work, school, and community. And as an immigrant to Minnesota, it’s a top priority for her this session:
“Every resident of Minnesota deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of immigration status. Our economy depends on the labor of immigrants, yet our government prohibits them from driving. Restoring immigrants’ right to obtain a driver’s license isn’t just the right thing to do – it will also benefit our economy, make our roads safer, and make life easier for our undocumented neighbors and their families.”
Big things to come
In a victory for communities across the state, Driver’s Licenses for All passed through the Minnesota House of Representatives!
The bill has yet to be voted on in the Senate, where it will need to pass before it can be signed into law by Governor Walz. We’ll keep an eye out and let you know the important updates.
Sign up to stay in the know about opportunities to get involved and stay up-to-date on Minnesota politics.