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SALT LAKE CITY — A new bill signed by Gov. Gary Herbert is expected to make driver’s license exams and renewals easier for refugees residing in the state.
Herbert signed HB 189 Tuesday afternoon, garnering support from the refugee advocates. The bill, brought up by Rep. Carol Spackman-Moss, D-Holladay, and sponsored in the Senate by Curtis Bramble, R-Provo, passed through this year’s legislative session unanimously.
The bill changed the length of a limited-term license issued to an approved asylee or refugee from four years to five years and allows an asylee or refugee applicant to take their first written exam in their native language and also allows refugees the help of an interpreter for the first renewal of a limited-term license.
A second renewal would still be given in English.
“I am grateful to Rep. Carol Spackman-Moss for bringing forward legislation that promises to help refugees to more easily obtain driver licenses,” Herbert said in a statement. “I am glad to see new measures in place to help welcome refugees into our communities, and I hope that HB 189 will help refugees more easily adapt to life in Utah."
The bill drew praise from multiple groups, including Utah’s Refugee Justice League.
"The Refugee Justice League joins refugee community leaders, service providers, and others in applauding Representative Moss, Senator Bramble, other legislators, and Governor Herbert for championing this important legislation that will significantly help Utah refugees and their family members,” the organization said in a statement.