Minnesota Senate approves ‘driver’s licenses for all’ bill, sending it to Walz

A bill to allow Minnesotans to get a driver’s license or state identification card without showing proof of legal presence in the U.S. is headed to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk to be signed into law.

Early Wednesday morning, the Minnesota Senate voted 34-31 to pass the bill known as “driver’s licenses for all.”

The House approved the bill last month, meaning it now heads to the governor, who is expected to sign it into law.

“This is a huge win for Minnesota’s immigrant movement,” Sen. Zaynab Mohamed (DFL-Minneapolis), the chief author of the Senate bill, said. “I am so proud to have co-led this effort to restore the freedom to drive alongside my friend and colleague, Senator Champion. This victory belongs to Minnesota’s immigrants and the dedicated advocates who have bravely fought for this legislation for over 20 years. Today we sent a message to Minnesota’s undocumented community: we hear you, we see you, and you are a part of our beloved community.”

Supporters of the legislation say it will break down barriers to getting a job or housing and make roads safer. Opponents have called it an “all-access pass” for illegal immigrants and say it can lead to voter fraud.

“Minnesotans are compassionate and we want safe roads, but this bill goes far, far beyond a simple public safety fix,” Sen. John Jasinski (R- Faribault) said. “It is overly expansive with major flaws that create a serious threat to our national security and put the integrity of our elections in jeopardy. We have tried to address these flaws and fix the bill with commonsense amendments that would put simple protections in place to protect our state’s security and elections, but unfortunately, Democrats are more interested in passing their extreme partisan agenda than securing our state’s future.”

RELATED: Legislature passes bill to restore voting rights for felons

Before taking up the driver’s license bill, the Senate also approved a bill to restore voting rights for felons who’ve completed their period of incarceration. That bill also is now headed to the governor’s desk.

State lawmakers have adjourned for the rest of the week due to the winter storm.

Follow the progress of other notable bills throughout the session with KSTP’s Legislative Tracker.