Republicans seek to derail Spitzer’s license plan

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Senate Republicans warn they could use budget negotiations to derail Governor Spitzer’s plan to make it easier for illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses.

At a Senate hearing on the issue Monday, Republicans sought to delay the policy’s implementation. But Spitzer said he can start the policy in December without the Legislature.

DMV Commissioner David Swarts defended the plan as a way to get hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants already in New York into the state data base. Spitzer said that will make the streets safer for drivers, reduce auto insurance rates, and provide a better tool for law enforcement to track illegal immigrants.

Republicans weren’t persuaded. Senator Thomas Libous of Binghamton said he can see the issue delaying next year’s budget, due April 1st, for eight months or longer.

Swarts told senators that the administration would likely need the Legislature’s approval to buy some of the new anti-fraud technology in Spitzer’s plan.

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