In early January, New Jersey became the latest state to give undocumented students access to in-state tuition to public colleges and universities when Republican Governor Chris Christie signed the New Jersey Dream Act.  Now, lawmakers in the Democrat-majority state legislature may push a bill which would give immigrants who can’t prove legal status the right to get special driver’s licenses as long as they can prove they live in the state, according to NJ.com

The site notes that past efforts on similar bills have failed in previous years.  One was introduced in 2006 and again in 2008 in the Assembly, but it died before making it to the state Senate.  In 2012, lawmakers in the Assembly tried again with a version that would’ve covered Dreamers – young immigrants brought illegally to the country by their parents – who were granted a reprieve from deportation and work authorization under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  That didn’t go anywhere, either. 

But at a time when states are acting with increasing frequency to pass laws on immigration in lieu of a comprehensive federal reform, Democratic leaders in the state Senate and Assembly may seek to move on an issue where they’ve shared common ground with the Republican governor in the past.  NJ.com reports that Senate President Stephen Sweeney plans to meet with advocates on the issue, while Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto says he’s open to the idea “mainly as a public safety measure”.  If it does pass into law, it would put New Jersey in league with eleven other states and the District of Columbia in allowing the undocumented to get licenses.  Ten of those states passed those laws in 2013.