Georgia Voices: Renewing licenses and the law of unintended consequences
by The Macon Telegraph
October 23, 2012 12:00 AM | 1955 views | 3 3 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When lawmakers in the state Capitol sift through the thousands of bills from the sublime to the ridiculous they rarely factor in their discussions the law of unintended consequences. Same thing happens in Washington, D.C.

Long after bills are signed into law does the LUC kick in. This past July, many drivers in Georgia were surprised when they attempted to renew their driver’s licenses. What was a quick point and click online is no longer. Federal requirements for the Real ID Act, now require drivers to visit a Department of Driver Services office if they don’t already have DDS secure license marked by a white star in a field of gold in the upper right corner of the license.

Many Georgians haven’t renewed their licenses in many years, so naturally, they were caught by surprise when they had to produce, in person, proof of identity, Social Security card and proof of residence. But there is more. You have to prove your citizenship as well. How? According to the DDS, either with a “valid, unexpired U.S. passport,” an “original or certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate/amended birth certificate filed with the State Office of Vital Statistics. Birth certificates issued by hospitals “are not acceptable.”

Lawmakers could have cared less that the consequences of their actions caused backlogs. The LUC hit 475,000 Georgians who have professional licenses — from hair dressers to architects — who now have to provide proof of citizenship when annually renewing their professional licenses. This was enacted by state lawmakers to be sure no illegal immigrant is granted a state license.

According to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, what used to be an easy online process now can take weeks. His agency has been hit hard by the LUC. There are not enough people, due to prior cutbacks, to do the job of answering the almost half million phone calls that have come into his call center this year due to the new requirements.

Why so many professions need a state license is another question worth debating. We can understand why engineers and surveyors need a license, but a librarian or a mixed martial arts fighter?
Comments-icon Post a Comment
October 23, 2012
Its become real clear that our federal government is not going to do anything about illegals, so it fell upon the states to do it.

Yes it was a pain in the butt to get all the documents to go renew my drivers license. But it was real nice to see all the probable non legals get turned away.

And I have no problem with the requirement for professionals to have to do the same. How many illegals do we have working in these areas, well now we will find out won't we.

Be thankful we have a state government that refuses to follow the president's policy of kissing the buts of third world countries and giving illegal the same rights we had to earn.
Pat H
October 23, 2012
I disagree. They need these documents to obtain a driver's license anyway. How many of these occupations walk to work or take the bus?

More work for legal residents - sounds right to me.
November 14, 2012
I had to call the licensing office to verify that the process was so simple. I submitted everything on line and by fax, and received my license the next business day. And this was days before the deadline. I don't understand the problem. Strangely, I had to print the certificate out myself, but that's the new age, I guess.

However, I don't think the state did as good a job as they could have of getting the word out. I was looking for it, but didn't see it until a few weeks before the deadline.
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