BOSTON (AP) - The Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Senate have overturned Gov. Deval Patrick's veto of a proposal that would require anyone seeking to register a car in Massachusetts to prove legal U.S. residency.
Both the House and Senate with bipartisan support voted to reject Governor Patrick's amendment and sent the original language offered by Senator Robert Hedlund back to the Governor.
Patrick rejected the measure Friday, calling the proposal "flawed."
The governor said the bill seems to be aimed at using the Registry of Motor Vehicles to identify illegal immigrants.
Patrick had proposed an amended version of the legislation, citing concerns over the Legislature's initial proposal. His amendment would require vehicle owners to prove state residency.
The residency language was part of a broader measure that would allow motor vehicle registration applicants to identify themselves with a driver's license, identification card or Social Security number. It also would grant exemptions for out-of-state college students, military personnel and others.
In October 2009, Richard Grossi was killed when Maria Leite, an unlicensed illegal immigrant, allegedly drove through a stop sign and a blinking red light before crashing into Grossi's car.
In February 2011, Andrea Agosto was killed when Manuel Zaruma, an illegal immigrant, allegedly lost control of his friend's car and spun into the opposite lane, smashing into the car in which Agosto was a passenger.
In August 2011, Nicolas D. Guaman, who was in the country illegally, was arrested after his vehicle allegedly struck and killed 23-year old Matthew J. Denice.
Just last month, Auricelli Braga, 32, an illegal alien from Brazil, was charged with motor-vehicle homicide following a two-car crash in Canton on June 24 which killed 64-year old grandmother Sara Escudero.
"These tragedies occurred because a loophole exists that enables people without driver's licenses and without any sort of training to register get behind the wheel of a car," Senator Hedlund said.
In addition, the bill toughens penalties for those caught driving without a valid license, increasing the minimum fine from $100 to $500 for a first offense, and establishing a penalty of fine up to $1,000 for a second offense, and a fine of up to $2,000 for a third offense.