After failing five previous times, the Selective Service System is again asking the California state legislature to pass a bill linking Selective Service registration to California drivers’ licenses. California’s large population has one of the lowest SS registration compliance rates in the country, which could complicate any future attempt to resort to forced military service.
Proposed by Assembly member Rocky Chávez (R-Oceanside), Assembly Bill 2201 seeks to use DMV records to automatically register males with Selective Service when they apply for a license or license renewal (it does not include DMV-issued ID cards). The bill passed the Assembly Committee on Transportation on APRIL 21. As of April 21 it was waiting to be given a hearing by the appropriations committee. If it survives that committee, it would require an assembly floor vote before going through a similar committee process in the state senate.
The last time this proposal was introduced in California (SB 251 in 2011), an amended version was approved by the transportation committee and then, like all the others, allowed to die when it was held in suspension by the appropriations committee.
ACTION CALIFORNIANS CAN TAKE: As of this update (April 21), the bill was waiting for its hearing in the Assembly appropriations committee. Letters to that committee are needed. We’ve included a set of talking points below to consider when writing to legislators. NOTE: Send faxes, if possible, since mail is now slowed by capitol security checks. Write to:
Assembly Appropriations Committee
State Capitol, Room 2114
Sacramento, California 95814
916.319.2081 phone, 916.319.2181 fax
CHECK THE BILL’S STATUS: To confirm the status of the bill and learn where letters should be directed, check the bill’s status page at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html (type in the bill’s number, AB 2201). This is also where you can subscribe to receive email notices when the bill’s status changes.
IF YOU NEED GUIDANCE ON WHERE TO DIRECT LETTERS, CONTACT: Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (COMD), 760-753-7518, email@example.com
If you wish to contact your state representative in the Assembly or Senate, find their names at http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/.
SOME POSSIBLE TALKING POINTS
- AB 2201 would violate the state constitution. As specified by Article XIX of the California Constitution, revenue that funds the DMV can only be used for transportation-related infrastructure and the administration and enforcement of traffic and vehicle laws. Because AB 2201 does not provide an alternative funding source, it would use restricted DMV resources to operate an ongoing, yet unrelated, federal program, and thus invite a constitutional challenge.
- Allowing the imposition of this sort of function for the DMV could open the door to escalating federal demands to use drivers’ licenses for many other unrelated purposes, at an unknown cost and with the possible consequence that more people will elect to drive without licenses.
- AB 2201 would conflict with AB 60. Under AB 2201, the DMV would be required to disclose the information necessary to register license applicants with Selective Service. According to Selective Service, this information includes Social Security numbers, which the DMV also collects. Another bill, AB 60, has already been signed into law that prohibits the DMV from disclosing Social Security numbers to agencies such as Selective Service. AB 2201, therefore, would be in conflict with existing state law.
- Releasing DMV data under AB 2201 would violate restrictions on disclosing citizenship status. Under the previously approved AB 60, the DMV will collect data that can be used to identify individuals who do not have proof of legal residency in the U.S. Presumably, this information will be merged with the DMV data that is necessary to register individuals with Selective Service (SS requires noncitizens to register). Selective Service, in turn, shares its registration data with U.S. Customs and Immigration Services “for collection and evaluation of data to determine a person’s eligibility for entry/reentry into the United States and for U.S. citizenship” (SSS Form 1). The state legislature has already declared that DMV data must not be used to consider an individual’s status as a basis for criminal investigation or detention. California, however, cannot dictate such a policy to the federal government, and data disclosed by the DMV under AB 2201 would be available to USCIS for purposes that were expressly prohibited by the state legislature.
- Selective Service already has easy access to reach young men through its taxpayer-funded media, Internet and high school campus registration campaigns.
- AB 2201 would make the state an active partner in gender discrimination. The Dept. of Defense no longer excludes females from most military jobs, yet Congress has continued to require only males to register for a possible future draft. AB 2201 would hand the state of California an active role in such discrimination.
This alert is adapted from an article in Draft NOtices, the newsletter of the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (http://www.comdsd.org/).