State makes adjustments to new driver's license requirements

SALEM — Oregon's transportation commissioners are making some changes in the state's new driver's licensing law after receiving complaints from women and others who had problems getting a license because they changed their names.

The law, which took effect July 1, is designed to crack down on illegal immigration by requiring all drivers to prove their full legal name and citizenship status before they could get a license.

But new requirements inadvertently created problems for problems for legal residents who because of marriage or divorce, use of a nickname or adoption, may have a name that differs from the name on their birth certificate.

So on Wednesday, the state transportation commission adopted revisions to the new law that will expand the list of documents that connect a person's legal residency status to his or her legal name.

The change, which takes effect Monday, expands the kinds of documents applicants can provide to prove name changes, including a current driver's license from Oregon or any other state.

"We think that over 90 percent of the problems we've been experiencing will go away," Tom McClellan, administrator of the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Division, told the Transportation Commission members on Wednesday.

McClellan said his agency couldn't provide an exact number of complaints, but he said it was in the hundreds.

"There's been a lot," he said. "Frequently, it's a woman whose name has changed multiple times and no longer has her marriage certificate or divorce decree to show that her name has changed."

People change names for other reasons as well, such as adoption, blended families and cultural practices, he said.

Under the new rules, the list of acceptable documents to prove current full legal name will include current driver licenses, driver permits or ID cards from Oregon and other states as well as Canadian birth certificates.

Military documents, including military ID cards, will be accepted along with Oregon concealed weapons permits and tribal ID cards.

The rule change does not affect other requirements of the new driver's license law, which require proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the country and proof of Social Security number or proof that you are not entitled to a Social Security number.

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