Bill would expand punishment for driving without license

Posted April 11

Driver's license

— The House Judiciary II Committee approved a bill Tuesday along a party-line vote that would increase penalties for driving without a license.

Under House Bill 471, if someone is caught driving without a license for a third time, that person could have his or her car impounded by the state. Rep. Chris Millis, R-Pender, the primary sponsor on the bill, said the current law that addresses those driving without licenses is weak.

"This is about lives ... and those on our roadways," Millis said.

The committee meeting ended with disagreements about the bill’s implications for immigrants and happened just hours after another heated debate about immigration in which a Democratic senator walked away from the committee table.

Democratic Reps. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, and Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe, voiced concerns about how House Bill 471 would impact immigrants, who do not formally qualify for driver's licenses.

Harrison said she planned to work with other Democrats to file a bill that would provide a way for undocumented immigrants to get access to licenses.

"It seems like we have plenty of sticks out there, in terms of what is allowed in the immigrant community, and not very many carrots," Fisher said. "I look forward to working with colleagues to make a path easier for folks to do the right thing instead of constantly catching them doing the wrong thing."

Millis told committee members to not be distracted by Harrison’s comments.

"The issue Rep. Harrison brought up is truly not the subject of this legislation," he said.

Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, voted to pass the legislation but voiced concerns about the bill’s intent.

"I get the argument that it appears to be directed at solving a different problem related to undocumented folks in the state," McGrady said. "[But] I have a hard time not being supportive of the bill that tries to stop repeat offenders."

The bill now goes to the House Finance Committee.


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  • Joe Simpson Apr 12, 2017
    user avatar

    "Bill 471 would impact immigrants, who do not formally qualify for driver's licenses."
    Lies, WRAL, lies.
    *ILLEGAL* immigrants do not qualify. The media continues its propaganda campaign to pretend an equation of illegal aliens with legal immigrants going through the required procedures.
    I have spent 30 years working side by side with immigrants from all over the world who have had to go through all sorts of strict requirements to be and work here legally. For many people this means long expensive trips to their home countries and to government offices in other cities and states to maintain their legal status. Failure to enforce immigration laws is a slap in their faces.
    You either enforce laws, or you don't. Selective enforcement erodes legitimacy.

  • Norman Lewis Apr 12, 2017
    user avatar

    A bill to make it easier for undocumented "illegal" immigrants to get drivers licenses? Senator, have you lost your Democratic Party mind? Make it easier for illegals to break the law? Make it easier for more people to enter our society to become a drain on resources? Must be April 1st if you think I will believe that Ms Fisher.