BY JUDY POKRAS
JERSEY DRIVERA hearing is scheduled for September 21 on the state’s proposed requirements for getting a driver’s license. Superior Court Judge Paul Innes set that date as an extension of an injunction three months ago that blocked New Jersey from implementing the program until a dispute is resolved between it and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The new requirements, which would replace the existing Six Points program, were originally scheduled to take effect in May.
As Michael Lindhorst reports for NorthJersey.com:
The rules, which are contained in a program called TRU-ID, would impose stringent measures to verify a resident’s identity before the state issues or renews a license. The ACLU filed a lawsuit to stop New Jersey from implementing the program, arguing that the state improperly tried to impose the changes.
The ACLU argued that New Jersey did not hold required public hearings before deciding to go ahead with the new regulations, and that without such hearings, the state failed to address the needs of people like immigrants, battered wives, and the homeless -- groups who sometimes have a hard time getting documents to prove their identities, Lindhorst writes. This is important because under the proposed TRU-ID rules, a person applying for a driver’s license would need to show a social security card itself, or a pay stub, or tax records, whereas under the existing rules, license applicants only need to state their social security number. TRU-ID also requires two proofs of residency as opposed to one, and would not permit expired passports to serve as proof of identity.
The Star-Ledger reports that the ACLU wants assurances that victims of domestic violence would have a protected home address, and that homeless people would have access to the new ID.
According to Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the NJ Attorney General’s office, the state, and the ACLU hope to resolve their dispute before the September 21 hearing, Lindhorst reports
Lindhorst quotes Ed Barocas of the ACLU as saying: “We don’t allow new rules by fiat.” Barocas said he was concerned about the privacy of those people who would have to show documents to get a driver’s license, and wondered what policies the state had in place to prevent hacking and identity theft.
NJ Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator Ray Martinez said the changes were being made for national security reasons and to ensure that a driver has only one record, the AP reports.
The Associated Press reports:
The stricter standards were to be phased in, with separate dates for pre-Baby Boomers and post-Baby Boomers. The 3 million New Jersey drivers and ID holders born after Dec. 1, 1964, were to meet the new requirements by December 2014, and the 3 million drivers born before Dec. 1, 1964, had until December 2017.
According to Wikipedia, in July 1913, New Jersey became the first state to require all drivers to pass an exam before receiving a license.
Judy Pokras has been a professional journalist for over 10 years, and has written for The New York Times and the Daily Record. She is currently lead journalist for the Law Offices of Daniel R. Rosen, and covers auto technology and auto safety on the firm's daily blog. Connect with Judy on Google+.