The California bill that would require male driver’s license applicants to register for a possible future military draft has moved forward in the state legislature.
Introduced by Assembly member Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside), Assembly Bill 2201 passed the California Assembly on May 27 by a vote of 66-4. It then went to the California Senate, where it passed the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing by a vote of 10-1 on June 24.
AB 2201 is now in the hands of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it will be given a hearing on August 4. If it is approved by that committee, it will go to the full Senate for a floor vote. It if passes there it will go to the governor’s office for his signature or veto.
When this bill was introduced in 2011, it was held in suspension by the Senate Appropriations Committee until it died at the end of the legislative session. Other earlier versions also were held in appropriations committees until they expired.
If passed, AB 2201 would deem that an individual who is required by federal law to register with the Selective Service System has consented to being registered by completing a driver’s license application or license renewal form. Essentially, the individual would be involuntarily registered with Selective Service by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. There would be no alternative for that person, other than driving without a license or not driving at all.
Selective Service would only process registrations for males between the ages of 18 and 26. Once a person turns 26, they can no longer register, and being unregistered would make them ineligible for various federal programs and state-funded student financial aid in California.
A number of important critical points have been voiced concerning conflicts between AB 2201 and various state laws. For example, the bill violates a privacy rights section added to the state constitution by a citizen initiative in 1972. The state constitution also prohibits using the state Motor Vehicle Account, which funds the DMV, for anything other than transportation-related infrastructure and enforcement of vehicle laws and regulations. Another conflict could occur with a recent law, AB 60, passed in California to make it possible for undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license without being exposed to investigation and possible detention by immigration services. The issue of gender discrimination is also raised by the fact that only males would be rejected if they refused to accept Selective Service registration as a condition for a license.
Selective Service has deceived the legislature by implying that a similar law has been adopted by over 40 states, territories and the District of Columbia. In reality, only 28 states have adopted a similar law, while all the remaining states, the territories and D.C. have either rejected the proposal or only passed laws that make Selective Service registration an option for license applicants.
Selective Service has also denied that it shares immigration status information with federal authorities, yet it plainly states on its draft registration form that it shares information with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services for determination of citizenship and eligibility to enter the country.
A final point is that even the federal government itself does not use a policy of automatically registering men with Selective Service! For example, when students fill out the federal financial aid application form, registration is offered as an option and not triggered automatically. Selective Service already has the ability to inform men of the registration requirement with its many different outreach and publicity initiatives. It should not be drafting state agencies to do something that even it has declined to do.
Letters from Californians need to be sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Letters from organizations are especially effective and will make it into the analyst’s report to the committee. Letters should include some of the above points and must be received by the committee before July 28. Regular postal delivery to the capitol is delayed because of security checks, so the preferred method is faxing. Send to:
Senate Committee on Appropriations
State Capitol, Room 2206
Sacramento, CA 95814
Senator Kevin de León, Dem. (Chair), fax: (916) 327-8817
Senator Mimi Walters, Rep. (Vice Chair), fax: (916) 651-4937
Senator Ted Gaines, Rep., fax: (916) 324-2680
Senator Jerry Hill, Dem., fax: (916) 651-4913
Senator Ricardo Lara, Dem., fax: (916) 651-4933
Senator Alex Padilla, Dem., fax: (916) 651-4920
Senator Darrell Steinberg, Dem., fax: (916) 651-4906
For more information and a full set of talking points, contact COMD, firstname.lastname@example.org, 760-753-7518.
This article is from Draft NOtices, the newsletter of the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (http://www.comdsd.org/)