Wednesday, June 3, 2015

[SDCPJ] Automatic draft registration passes California Assembly

AB 82, the bill that would automatically register males for a possible future military draft when they apply for or renew a California driver's license, passed the California Assembly by a vote of 73 to 2. This came after the bill was amended to weakly address some of the criticisms expressed by opponents during two legislative committee hearings.
 
 
There were three key amendments:
 
1. Language was added that requires SSS to cover all the expenses for the first year, including the cost of modifying the records system and printing new license application forms. (Continuing expenses after that would presumably be covered by Dept. of Motor Vehicles funds; however, the state constitution prohibits those funds from being used for purposes unrelated to transportation and traffic law enforcement.)
 
2. Language was added requiring SSS to sign a memorandum of understanding stating that it will not refer the personal information required for registration to the United States Citizenship and       Immigration Services. (Such an MOU would conflict with the fact that the SSS Privacy Act Statement that is on every registration form says just the opposite: SSS declares that USCIS is one of the agencies with which it DOES share information!)
 
3. Language was added asserting that license applicants will be able to opt out of automatic SSS registration by visiting an SSS web page within 21 days of applying for their Calif. license or license renewal. (However, SSS has historically denied people the option of withdrawing their registration, and there is no such form on the SSS web site. A state legislature has no power to force SSS to change this policy, but if SSS did create an online opt-out mechanism, anyone who used it would possibly be providing evidence that could be used to prove that they willfully violated the registration law.)
 
Many of the votes in favor of AB 82 were secured with factual misrepresentations made by SSS and the bill's supporters. For example, it was claimed that automatic draft registration would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented students, when in fact under current federal law these individuals cannot apply for citizenship even if they register with SSS!
 
Bills similar to AB 82 have been proposed in California six previous times, all of which were eventually killed when they did not advance beyond the final appropriations committee.
 
For information on progress of the bill in the California Senate, contact Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft, comdsd@aol.com, 760-753-7518.
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