ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A key New Mexico Senate committee passed a measure Tuesday that lawmakers called a workable compromise aimed at making the state compliant under federal regulations for identification.
After nearly a four-hour meeting where various proposals were presented, the Senate Public Affairs Committee voted 8-1 to combine a bipartisan bill with a recently passed version out of the Republican-controlled House as pressure mounted to pass a fix that meets the requirements of the federal REAL ID Act.
The combined bill would allow all New Mexico residents to apply for REAL ID-compliant licenses or obtain a "driver's authorization card."
Under the proposal, immigrants in the country illegally would be allowed to apply for the permit card but could no longer get a New Mexico driver's license.
Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, said the move was needed to get a compromise out of the full Senate and get it back in the House in time before the 30-day Legislative session ends in less than three weeks.
"The citizens of New Mexico are ready for us to act," said Ingle, who co-sponsored a bipartisan bill similar to the one the committee passed. "It gets us to a point."