State's sheriffs backing defeat of driver's cards
News article

A state organization comprised of elected sheriffs today voted to oppose Measure 301, a November ballot measure that would allow the state to issue driver’s cards to residents who cannot prove their identities.

The Sheriffs Of Oregon Political Action Committee (SOO-PAC) represents 36 sheriffs statewide, and 28 of them voted against the cards, which supporters say would have allowed individuals to obtain insurance and drive legally, making the roads safer for all. The sheriffs’ organization is urging voters to oppose the measure as well.

The bill and ballot measure have been controversial, and have sparked heated immigration-reform debate. The cards were not intended to be driver’s licenses, and would have had limited duration and purpose had they been enacted in January, said the 2013 Legislature, which approved Senate Bill 833 last year. The bill was signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber, and was supported by both parties.

Late last year, however, the organization Oregonians for Immigration Reform turned in more than 60,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office and qualified Referendum No. 301 for the ballot, which prevented the law from taking effect this year.

“Offering the privilege to drive to people who are breaking the law makes no sense to those of us who enforce the law,” said Tom Bergin, Clatsop County Sheriff. “It just doesn’t pass the common-sense test.”

The SOO-PAC said in a press release that a “super majority” vote by its membership is required for the organization to take a position on a measure or support a candidate.