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The Equal Access to Roads Act, HB 2015, and its companion bill, the Drivers License Restoration Bill, SB 833, are measures that just make good sense. Agriculture is the economic engine that powers the Willamette Valley. Producers need workers willing and able to do the backbreaking work necessary to tend and harvest crops. Immigrants comprise a significant proportion of the workforce. In fact, for some growers, they would not be able to stay in business without immigrants in their work force. To get to work every day, workers must take private vehicles; public transportation is not an option in rural areas.

This legislation would permit anyone in Oregon to obtain a driver’s license by providing proof of identity and Oregon residency, and passing the drivers exam. With a valid license to drive, immigrants would be able to get to work and other important destinations without fear of being pulled over, and growers would have a more reliable supply of laborers. This is one reason that the Farm Bureau, the Oregon Association of Nurseries, and the Oregon Winegrowers Association are all supporting the new licenses.

When all drivers have demonstrated they know and understand the rules of the road by passing an exam, our roads will be safer, and there will be fewer uninsured drivers. So, when it comes to driver’s licenses in Oregon, aim high — at least above your own foot.

Kenneth Crouse

Lebanon (May 3)

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