In its third attempt to make draft registration a condition for
males to receive a driver's license or DMV ID card in California,
Selective Service found itself going down another dead-end road.
The legislation, Senate Bill 1276, was weakened with amendments
before it passed the Senate Transportation Committee, and then
it went to the Senate Appropriations Committee where it was held
in suspense on May 23. This effectively killed the proposal for
the current legislative session and handed Selective Service its
third defeat on the issue in as many years.
While SB 1276 was still at the Transportation Committee, the
bill was amended to remove language that would have made draft
registration automatic for males between the ages of 18 and 26
when they applied for either a driver's license or DMV ID card.
The amendment left draft registration as an option that could
be selected by license/ID card applicants, and a stern warning
about the penalties for not registering would have been included
in license/ID card application forms.
Changing the bill to make draft registration merely an "opt-in"
choice did not give it enough momentum, however, to survive the
appropriations committee, where the estimated cost of the proposal
for the first two years was set at $594,000 (with up to $20,000
reimbursable by federal funds).
Recently in New Hampshire, a similar "opt-in" amendment
to a driver's license bill allowed the proposal to get through
that state's legislature. Selective Service claimed victory there,
even though the draft agency has stated that it opposes bills
that only make draft registration optional when men apply for
Opposition to the California bill came from COMD, Friends Committee
on Legislation-California (Sacramento), Center on Conscience and
War (Washington, DC) and Resource Center for Nonviolence (Santa
Cruz), with the regional Auto Club offices of Northern and Southern
California voicing opposition to any expenditure of state transportation
funds for the draft registration proposal. Phone calls, faxes
and letters from individuals were also extremely important.
As of July 3, 2002, Selective Service claimed that 24 states,
two territories, and the District of Columbia had passed laws
establishing some linkage between draft registration and driver's
licenses. The states and territories Selective Service lists are:
Oklahoma, Delaware, Arkansas, Utah, Georgia, Hawaii, Alabama,
Florida, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio, South Dakota,
Mississippi, Idaho, Virginia, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, West Virginia,
Tennessee, South Carolina, Maryland, Rhode Island, the Commonwealth
of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands. In addition,
bills were awaiting governors' signatures in Missouri and New
York. In North Carolina and Pennsylvania, bills had passed one
Selective Service's list apparently does not make a distinction
between new laws that make draft registration mandatory as a condition
for receiving a license and those, like New Hampshire's, that
merely remind people to register and offer them an opportunity
to do so when applying for a license.
Selective Service says that driver's license legislation is under
consideration in Guam and Massachusetts, and it is seeking sponsors
for bills in other states. A sponsor is being sought in New Jersey,
according to an anti-draft activist there who plans to organize
opposition (for information, contact Bob Goldbeck: rgoldbeck631.@comcast.net).
Since California is a large state with one of the lowest draft
registration compliance rates, it is expected that Selective Service
will continue trying to get its proposal through the California
legislature. With continued commitment from activists, the same
pattern of defeats can continue.
For more information and updates, contact: Committee
Opposed to Militarism and the Draft, 619-265-1369, or the
Friends Committee on Legislation
of California, 916-443-3734.