Letter to the editor in today’s Dalton Daily Citizen: Republican Senator Chuck Payne sides with the Democrats on illegal alien drivers licenses, and Senator Payne’s reply
Dalton Daily Citizen
Sunday, February 26, 2018
I write from Marietta to sadly commiserate with other conservatives in the Dalton area. My own state Republican state senator, Kay Kirkpatrick, recently joined Dalton’s Sen. Chuck Payne in voting with the Democrats to kill a Republican bill aimed at reforming the system by which Georgia issues driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.
Astonished or doubtful readers can watch a video archive on the General Assembly website of the Feb. 21 Senate Public Safety Committee hearing on SB 417 and watch as Payne raises his hand to vote “no” with the Dems while the illegal aliens who opposed the bill can be heard literally applauding in the back of the room. ( Here is a link to the official video archive. SB417 presentation begins around 55:20 and the vote begins around 123:20. Use the red button slide on the bottom of the screen. You need to put your cursor near it to see it.)
The state legislation, offered by conservative stalwart Sen. Josh McKoon of Columbus was designed to end the practice of giving a common driver’s license to legal immigrants and illegal aliens, many of whom have been convicted of crimes in the USA and have already been ordered deported. The bill took advantage of the fact that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses a code on the work permits they issue to denote the unlawful immigration status of aliens who have been awarded the permit, in large part, by the Obama administration.
McKoon’s bill would have taken advantage of the in-place USCIS system and changed the illegals’ driver’s licenses so that they were easily recognizable and could not be used as ID to board airliners — as a legal immigrant’s ID is.
Payne is now explaining his join-the-Dems vote by saying he was concerned about the cost of enforcement of the legislation if it became law. Here is where Dalton voters should remember that all laws have a cost of enforcement. And that Georgia has more illegal aliens than Arizona. And that even if the well-known but little understood DACA program ended tomorrow, we will still have illegal aliens in Georgia with the same drivers and ID credentials as legal immigrants. Blurring that line is an insult and a needless public safety risk. What “cost” is too high for Payne?
GOP readers should imagine a primary campaign speech at a Whitfield County Republican meeting in which candidate Payne assures voters that if he is sent back to the Gold Dome he will vote with the Democrats against a Republican public safety bill on driver’s licenses for illegal aliens.
Would you still vote for him?
King is president of the Georgia based Dustin Inman Society. He is not a member of any political party.
Sen. Payne responds:
Sadly, Mr. King illustrates the ever-present obstacle in politics, the driving venture of “want.” For it doesn’t matter if Democrats want or Republicans want. If our efforts are only a pursuit of our want then eventually our want will cripple us all. Maybe it’s time that we seek to set want aside and commit to do the work to achieve responsible and sound legislation that would stand the tests of time. I do strive to maintain a measure of responsibility in discernment, but I’ve learned that the result of want unfulfilled can sometimes bring misguided anger to those who only want. The reason I wasn’t able to join my friend, Sen. Josh McKoon, as he proposed SB 417, was simply due to my understanding in reading through the bill that it would create more government and without any qualifying results to show for it.
In 2012, the Department of Driver Services began printing “LIMITED-TERM” on Georgia driver’s licenses and identification cards issued to those who are not U.S. citizens. In my view, SB 417 would create a whole new arm of state government in the creation of a new method of issuing driving permits to those who are not U.S. citizens. SB 417 establishes that beyond the issuing of Georgia diver’s licenses, the state would take on new enforcement policies for these new “driver safety cards” for those who are not citizens. It is my understanding that the cost and creation of a whole new bureaucracy to enforce these new provisions would come without any warranted difference from what we currently have. SB 417 requires that a person be fined if caught using these new driver safety cards for personal identification, but the costs associated with the enforcement would have to be appropriated later with additional legislation.
Recently, the Legislature moved forward on HB 918, as for the first time in our lifetimes the state will reduce tax rates for individuals and businesses from 6 percent to 5.75 percent, and includes provision to further reduce the tax rate to 5.5 percent in 2020. The question I asked in the consideration of my vote over SB 417 was, “Are we seeking to reduce the size, costs and excesses of state government, or are we creating more government and laws that could be deemed as unenforceable in the end?” As I had promised, I have kept my word that I would read the legislation with an eye of meaningful critique. I simply disagreed with the costs of implementing SB 417 and questioned if this bill would offer any measurable result.