Clerks continue push-back against Green Light Law

Controversial driver's license law takes effect Monday

Mike Baggerman
December 13, 2019 - 1:24 pm
State Senator Rob Ortt joined by multiple clerks in Western New York to push back against Green Light Law. December 13, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

State Senator Rob Ortt joined by multiple clerks in Western New York to push back against Green Light Law. December 13, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WBEN) - Six local clerks and State Senator Rob Ortt are continuing to push back against the controversial Green Light Law that takes effect on Monday.

The law that passed in June will allow anyone in the country the ability to receive a driver's license, regardless of their immigration status. According to the New York State DMV website, the law allows anyone in New York age 16 and older to apply for a standard license regardless of citizenship or lawful status in the country.

But clerks argue that this is "completely false".

"After (October 1, 2020) you'll have to have a REAL ID to get in a plane or a federal building or air base," Niagara County Clerk Joe Jastrzemski said. "From (Monday) to (October 1, 2020), a non-federal driver's license will allow you to get on a plane, allow you to get in a federal building, and on an army base."

They believe it causes problems with national security.

"I believe we have made New Yorkers less safe with this law," Ortt said. "I believe we have watered down what it means to be a New Yorker and an American citizen with this law."

Clerks argued that New York lawmakers did not put in the proper safeguards when they passed the law in June and have not given proper training to clerks and staff.

"Other states have done this," Genesee County Clerk Michael T. Cianfrini said. "What (politicians) fail to tell you is that most of these other states have implemented safe guards that ensure the safety of the public when these licenses are issued. Many states require that these individuals have applied for citizenship and can get a license while they're awaiting their citizenship. Many of the licenses have insignias that say 'for driving purposes only'."

They argue that New York rejected these proposals.

Those involved in Friday's press conference called on Governor Andrew Cuomo and DMV Commissioner Mark Schroeder to delay implementation of the law.

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