Texas's New "Show Your Papers" Drivers License Law: Big Deal Or Not?

The legislature's massive school finance bill had attached to what will be a new law requiring drivers to present proof of citizenship or legal residency before getting -- or renewing -- a driver's license.

The ACLU of Texas is among groups that are not happy.

"The driver's license ID bills were debated during both the regular and special sessions and lawmakers correctly determined they were wrong for Texas. This last minute add-on amounts to playing a dirty trick on the people of Texas," said Executive Director Terri Burke. "Many Texans will be -- at the very least -- wildly inconvenienced by the 11th hour provisions that may mean you need a passport or birth certificate to renew your driver's license."

DPS spokesperson Tela Mange tells Hair Balls the new law merely "codifies current DPS rules," which call for various items of proof.

But the current law says only that DPS can ask for the citizenship proof. We know several people who have renewed licenses recently and were not asked for anything along those lines. None of those people looked Hispanic, though, we have to admit.

If by some chance you have displeased an angry God and are therefore consigned to get your license renewed at an actual DPS bricks-and-mortar location, then we can only say good luck.

We're sure everything will go smoothly.

Critics say any illegal immigrants who wouldn't be able to fulfill the new requirements will simply drive without a license and therefore without insurance, so lots of luck too if you get in an accident with the wrong person.

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