May 31, 2007


Posted by D.A. King at 7:29 pm - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  


GALEO applauds Governor Perdue’s veto of SB15

Atlanta, GA – May 31, 2007

Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO, released this statement regarding Governor Perdue’s veto of SB15:

“We applaud Governor Perdue for his veto of SB15. We agree with the Governor that SB15 would have had many unintended consequences, similar to the arrest and detention of the Canadian tourist recently in Brunswick, Georgia.

We applaud legislators who voted against this measure, especially GALEO Board Members, State Representatives Pedro Marin (D-Gwinnett, #96) and Tony Sellier (R-Fort Valley, #136).

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Georgia Rural Urban Summit, among others, did an outstanding job opposing and actively lobbying against the legislation during the House of Representatives’ debate.

Comprehensive immigration reform is moving in our U.S. Congress and will solve the issue of unlicensed drivers among the undocumented immigrant population. We also applaud our U.S. Senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, for moving forward with real solutions towards comprehensive immigration reform.”

Governor Perdue’s Statement regarding the veto of SB15
Veto Number 32
SB 15

SB 15 seeks to increase the penalties for driving without a valid license. In addition to other punishments, it provides that a first offense would result in a misdemeanor to be punished by imprisonment of at least two days and not more than twelve days. It also authorizes a $500 to $1,000 fine for first offenses. This broad provision would catch not only those who willfully drive without any valid license, but also persons who move into the State with a valid out-of-state driver’s license that have not obtained a Georgia driver’s license within 30 days of establishing residency. Though judges may suspend the period of imprisonment if the new resident had a valid driver’s license from another state and had good cause for not yet obtaining a Georgia one, SB 15 does not prevent that new resident from being booked and fingerprinted. I fear an unintended consequence of this legislation, as drafted, would subject persons with valid out-of-state driver’s licenses to stout criminal penalties even absent the commission of a willful act. Thus, although I support the intent of tracking persons that possess no valid driver’s license, the potential harms of this legislation cause me to VETO SB 15.

Information on SB15: Drivers’ Licenses; suspended/revoke
A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 5 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to drivers’ licenses, so as to change certain provisions relating to driver’s license requirement, surrender of prior licenses, and prohibition of local licenses; to change certain provisions relating to driving while license suspended or revoked; to specify punishments for driving without being licensed; to amend Code Section 42-4-14 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to determination of nationality of person charged with felony or driving under the influence and confined in a jail facility, so as to provide for determination of nationality of person convicted of driving without being licensed; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

To read more on SB15, please follow this link.

MALDEF’s position on SB15
On April 20, the Georgia House passed Senate Bill 15, legislation that would make a fourth offense for driving without a license a felony punishable by one to five years in prison.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) calls upon Governor Sonny Perdue to veto SB 15 because it moves Georgia in the wrong direction. Georgia should be progressing toward making it possible for all qualified Georgia drivers to be licensed and insured. Instead, the state legislature has focused its energy on a punitive measure that fails to promote public safety.

To read more on MALDEF’s position, please follow this link.

GALEO is a statewide 501 (c) (6) nonprofit and non- partisan organization focusing on leadership development and increased civic engagement of the Latino community. GALEO also provides a voice for the growing Latino population in Georgia and a framework for collaborative and proactive legislative initiatives for Georgia’s Hispanic community.