A new coalition, Minnesota’s One State, One License coalition got an early start in 2015, rallying at the legislature on the session’s opening day. The coalition wanted all Minnesota residents, regardless of immigration status, to be able to take the driver’s license test and qualify for a license. They also want all licenses to look the same, without special marking for immigrants’ licenses.
The bill suffered a setback in March, 2015 when the proposal’s sponsors, fearing a lack of Republican support, abandoned a plan to hold a vote on the measure in the House Transportation Committee. State Representative Rod Hamilton (R) said he had decided not to bring it to a vote, as he worried he might be a single vote short.
The bill’s critics fear that granting the license to people who did not arrive in the country legally would mean “aiding and abetting” a criminal act, as Dan McGarth of Minnesota Majority put it during the hearing. McGrath also voiced a common critique among conservatives of similar bills across the country: that they don’t go far enough to make sure the undocumented immigrants can’t use the licenses to vote.