- Associated Press - Sunday, December 21, 2014

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The city of Wichita plans to lobby the state Legislature next year to allow people in the country illegally to receive a driver’s permit, which could be used primarily to buy car insurance.

The permits could not be used for such things as airport security or as identification to vote, The Wichita Eagle reported (https://bit.ly/1AHpqTy ).

The Wichita City Council voted this week to actively lobby for the proposal during the upcoming legislative session. A similar bill introduced last session by Rep. Ponka-We Victors, D-Wichita, did not get a hearing.

Wichita council member Janet Miller said the permits would help protect the public who are in traffic accidents involving the immigrants.

“This is a way to give them the option of getting insurance,” Miller said. “It’s not a fun time to be hit by someone without insurance.”

Council Members Pete Meitzner opposed the decision to lobby for the bill.

“I’m confused why we as Wichita are (tackling) this issue specifically,” Meitzner said. “I would rather let the state solve this and not be weighing in from Wichita, Kansas, on a federal and state issue.”

And councilman James Clendenin said he didn’t appreciate supporters’ argument that the permits would make it easier for the immigrants to get work.

“I’m having a hard time telling those people, documented or undocumented alike, you don’t have a job here, but we’ll make it as easy as possible for the undocumented to have a job,” Clendenin said. “I know that sounds insensitive and not politically correct, but I can’t support myself advocating for this issue at the state level.”

Liliana Gonzalez said the bill would improve public safety.

“There’s a lot of families out there that are driving without licenses and without insurance, and if we can get them at least a permit to drive, then they would have to go through the same steps as everybody else to pass their (driver’s) test,” said Gonzalez. “So that way we know that they’re safe, they’re qualified to be on the road.”


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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