Farmworkers, Advocates Press Panel For Licenses

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Calling it an opportunity to help an often overlooked community, immigrant farmworkers and advocates pressed a state Senate panel to allow those workers to get state driver’s licenses.

Vermont dairy farms employ an estimated 1,500 Mexican farmworkers. Many of those workers are in the U.S. illegally, saying they are isolated in rural areas and have to get rides from their employer or volunteers — sometimes paying for transportation to get to the grocery store or doctor.

Senator Dick Mazza told the crowd at yesterday’s hearing there are no guarantees the bill will move forward in time for a vote this legislative session. He says the proposal has a number of issues still to be resolved before the Transportation Committee sends it to the full Senate.

State DMV head Rob Ide says the Shumlin administration supports the concept of the bill but also reminded lawmakers that driving in Vermont is a privilege and not a right.

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