A bill that would have required the state to give drivers licenses to illegal immigrants dies before it even makes it to the floor for a vote. 

Representative Forrest Bennett (D) Oklahoma City argued before the House Public Safety Committee that issuing licenses to illegal immigrants would encourage them to have insurance and reduce hit-and-run crashes.

“And our state would benefit if they were allowed to purchase ID’s which would mean that they would also purchase insurance and car tags and the revenue from that would benefit the state.” Bennett said.

“How is an ID going to ensure that they’ve got insurance?” Representative Denise Crosswhite Hader (R) Piedmont asked.

“My job as a state legislator -- it’s my job to hear concerns from my district and try to find solutions to those problems. Oklahoma City alone has three to four hundred hit-and-run accidents every month.  And if this law can help that’s great,” Bennett said.

Republican lawmakers questioned whether the bill was really about reducing hit-and-run crashes.

“Is this really about accidents and things or is this kind of a backdoor way to voter registration?” asked Representative Tom Gann (R) Inola.

“No. It’s not a backdoor way to voter registration,” Bennett responded. “And I can tell you that the people in my community have a deep deep fear and distrust, even those who are legally here, because of rhetoric like that.”

Representative Jim Olsen (R) Roland asked, “Wouldn’t giving ID’s and drivers licenses to people who are illegal, by definition be breaking our law, wouldn’t that further facilitate them continuing to break our laws?”

“The reality is that we have issues today that can be fixed today,” Bennett said.

In the end, the bill was defeated, 11-1.

“And I fully recognize by the way that there are plenty of you for ideological or other reasons don’t want to vote for this,” Bennett said. “So I just thought I’d give it a try.”