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Endorsement pending for Measure 88

City Club to consider backing for driver's card.


The City Club of Portland will consider a recommendation to endorse Measure 88, which would enable people to drive in Oregon regardless of immigration status.

City Club members will vote on this and nine other election-related recommendations between Aug. 20 and Aug. 25. Endorsements will be released Aug. 26.

Its committee report on Measure 88, which the City Club released Wednesday, concludes:

“While the state does not enforce federal immigration law, it is responsible for determining who may drive in the state in order to promote public safety.

“Driving privileges should be based on the ability to drive safely, know the rules of the road and obtain auto insurance, and not immigration status.”

The report also says that passage of Measure 88 would not attract undocumented immigrants from other states. Except for Idaho, Oregon’s other three neighbors — Washington, California and Nevada — are among the nine states that allow for alternatives to full licenses.

Measure 88 is one of seven on the Nov. 4 statewide ballot. The City Club will offer endorsements on five measures.

If passed, it would authorize a four-year driver’s card, shorter than the regular eight-year license, for those who meet all driving requirements other than proof of legal presence in the United States. Such proof was required under a 2008 Oregon law.

Among the requirements are passage of driving knowledge and skills tests, residency in Oregon for more than one year, proof of identity and date of birth.

The measure is on the ballot because opponents of Senate Bill 833 in the 2013 session obtained enough signatures to force a statewide election on it. The bill had been approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber.

A “yes” vote approves the driver’s card; a “no” vote rejects it.

The City Club of Portland is Oregon's most prestigious civic forum.

“Witnesses kept bringing the discussion back to federal immigration reform, but that is not the question on the ballot,” says Andy Shaw, who leads the City Club committee on Measure 88. “Oregon’s job is to keep its residents safe, and this law, which passed the Legislature with broad and bipartisan support, does that.”

Other members are Amy Sample Ward, co-chairwoman; Ellen Knutson, lead writer; David Dickson, Anna Ellermeier, Ellen Gehringer, Tom Iverson and Sharon VanSickle-Robbins. Cory Streisinger was the committee’s research adviser.

Earlier this week, advocates of Measure 88 launched their campaign website. In addition to Kitzhaber, supporters include the Oregon Business Association, Oregon Association of Nurseries, Oregon AFL-CIO, Locals 49 and 503 of Service Employees International Union, American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, Basic Rights Oregon Education Fund, Causa Oregon and Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.

Among the opponents are state Rep. Dennis Richardson of Central Point, the Republican nominee for governor; Oregonians for Immigration Reform and its ballot-measure offshoot, Protect Oregon Driver Licenses, and 28 of Oregon’s 36 county sheriffs.

The City Club of Portland has scheduled a public presentation on election-related measures from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20, at Oregon Public House, 700 NE Dekum St., Portland. The forum is open to the public, but only City Club members can vote on proposed endorsements.

The full text of the City Club of Portland report on Measure 88 can be found here:

www.pdxcityclub.org/ballotmeasures-drivercard

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Activates link to City Club of Portland report and recommendation; clarifies requirements for driver's card; specifies number of sheriffs opposed.