Monday, June 28, 2004

State will issue Certificate of Driving this week

"Thursday, driving certificates will be available for the first time at all full-service testing stations in the state."

"The governor's homeland security chief, Maj. Gen. Jerry Humble, said the certificate was not valid Tennessee identification, but state troopers have the discretion to accept it as proof that the person they are ticketing is who they say they are. Certainly, Humble said, it wouldn't work for state troopers to arrest anyone they pull over for producing a certificate and no other ID for simple misdemeanor offenses."

"State Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro and a major backer of the law, said that's exactly what troopers should do. That's what he says he and other legislators were told all along, and that's why the vast majority voted in favor of the law. Immigrants should carry other ID, such as a passport, he said."

"However, Humble said that working officers have always had the authority to verify someone's identity using whatever documents they had at hand, including a library card. The certificate would be no different."

"'It doesn't mean it's ID,' he said. 'We've got to be practical about this. There's a whole lot of difference between issuing a ticket for littering (to someone producing the certificate) and a terrorist being able to board an airplane with one.'"

"The Nashville-based Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition will set up its own 800 number next week to take complaints from applicants about licenses or certificates. David Lubell said his group has helped three immigrants wrongly denied driver's licenses. The three applicants eventually got their licenses with the assistance of the Safety Department, Lubell said."

The Tennessean

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