‘Unintended consequence’ a grave oversight

Published 11:05 am Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Shelby County residents could be paying dearly for a grave oversight by our state legislators in the recently passed Alabama immigration bill.

If the immigration law stands in federal court, our residents may no longer be able to renew their vehicle license tags or driver’s licenses online or in the mail — both systems that have been available for many years in an attempt to make life a little easier for those with busy schedules.

Because a section of the controversial immigration bill will require employees at the Department of Motor Vehicles to personally verify each customer’s identification, the mail-in and online renewal systems — which our county has invested heavily in over the years — likely will be done away with if the law goes into effect.

Simply put, this oversight should not have happened. More than one of our local state legislators said the possible abolishment of the two systems was an “unintended consequence,” and said they did not see this inconvenience coming. The head of the county’s license division said the oversight could cause “major heartburn” for Shelby County residents.

We feel many of the legislators, from Shelby County and all across the state, who voted for this law did not take the time to properly read the bill and understand its possible implications. However you feel about illegal immigration in Alabama, inconveniencing legal residents is not going to solve the problem.

If elected government officials are not going to give each law the attention it deserves before they cast their votes, who will?

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.