Nineteen mayors and managers from across Massachusetts today reiterated their support for The Work and Family Mobility Act and urged legislators to vote in favor of the bill in a letter submitted to members of the Massachusetts Legislature. The bill, which was reported favorably from the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation, would allow immigrants without status to qualify for a Massachusetts Standard Drivers’ License with valid proof of identity, date of birth and Massachusetts residency.
While The Work and Family Mobility Act was reported favorably from the Committee on Transportation in 2020 and seemed poised for passage last session, COVID-19 ultimately redirected the Legislature’s focus. Reintroduced this session, the bill has now garnered more than 100 cosponsors in the House and Senate, and the Driving Families Forward Coalition supporting the bill has grown to comprise over 270 endorsing organizations, including community, health, faith, labor, business and law enforcement.
Mayors and managers from the municipalities of Amesbury, Amherst, Arlington, Beverly, Boston, Brockton, Brookline, Cambridge (Mayor and Manager), Chelsea, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Newton, Randolph, Revere, Salem, Somerville and Swampscott
joined together in support of the bill. In the letter officials noted that the proposal would greatly improve road safety and increase the ease with which law enforcement officers conduct their regular duties. “[T]his bill would provide broad benefits to our municipalities. Our streets will be safer for everyone when all drivers have passed road tests, and vehicles are registered and insured,” the letter reads, in part. “Indeed, many of our policy chiefs support the bill as a public safety tool and agree that it will enable law enforcement to better identify individuals at traffic stops or scenes of an accident.”
“All Boston and Massachusetts adults deserve access to driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status. I support the Family Mobility Act because it will make all of us safer,” said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.
“Providing access to driver’s licenses to immigrants makes all of our communities safer and more equitable,” said Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller.
“The Work and Family Mobility Act is a commonsense measure that will improve the safety of our streets and strengthen the ability of Massachusetts families and workers to access essential services, health care, education, and places of work,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. “Massachusetts cities and towns have consistently stepped forward to help all of our residents, and now we’re calling on the legislature to do the same. This measure is endorsed by both law enforcement leaders and advocates for our immigrant neighbors. Let’s make sure our Commonwealth is a place that works for and welcomes everyone by adopting this important legislation.”
“I am grateful that this important legislation is being advanced by the Legislature,” said Lynn Mayor Jared Nicholson. “Families in Lynn and across the Commonwealth are depending on its passage to ensure that they can lawfully drive their children to school, travel to doctors’ appointments, and commute to work. As much as this legislation is about fairness it is also about public safety and economic development and I hope that it is passed in a swift manner.”
“I am proud to sign onto this letter of support with my colleagues in local government across the state and I urge the State Legislators to consider this bill favorably,” said Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn. “Especially during the COVID-19 health crisis, providing these additional options for residents can make a critical difference in the lives of their families, their health and well-being. It’s up to us as community leaders to make core services available to all of our residents, and this bill is a huge step in making that a reality for all.”
“Swampscott is one of the most densely settled communities in the Commonwealth. As we look to the future, it’s clear we need a focus on pedestrian safety and complete streets to help balance the needs of all modes of transportation,” said Swampscott Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald.
“Welcoming new residents, regardless of where they come from or the circumstances of their arrival, is important to the long-term economic and social well-being of Greater Boston and the entire Commonwealth,” said the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s Deputy Executive Director of Public Affairs and Advocacy, Lizzi Weyant. MAPC led the creation of the municipal sign-on letter sent to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation.
“The Legislature has a real opportunity to meaningfully address some of the structural barriers facing our undocumented residents,” said Weyant. “This legislation gives us an opportunity to start to change the way that we treat and include vital members of our communities.”