Just before midnight on Wednesday, the New Mexico Senate quashed an attempt to outlaw driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants.
Several floor amendments came on top of Tuesday night's major amendment by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but in the end, under HB 78, undocumented immigrants can still obtain driver's licenses in New Mexico, albeit with more prerequisites and stiffer penalties for fraud. The vote was 25-16, mostly along party lines.
The original bill was "blasted" out of two House committees (a procedural term that basically means the bill skipped over the committee approval process) and amended on the House floor to allow licenses for legally documented foreign nationals without SSNs.
But on Tuesday night, the Democratically-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee amended the bill again, reinstating language that allows even undocumented immigrants to obtain licenses.
At midnight Wednesday, Gov. Martinez sent out the following statement: