Kearns remains defiant in rejection of "Green Light Bill" law

Jun 19, 2019

Erie County Clerk Michael “Mickey” Kearns is refusing to adhere to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s passing of the “Green Light Bill” allowing undocumented immigrants the right to obtain driver’s licenses.

Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns
Credit Thomas O'Neil-White

Kearns delivered a letter Tuesday to the Erie County Attorney’s Office requesting representation should he be sued.

Kearns is not alone. Niagara County Clerk Joseph Jastrzemski is on board and is reaching out to other county clerks in the western part of the state to build a coalition of opposition of the new law.

“I’ve spoken to some of the clerks today,” Kearns said. “We’ve sent a lot of money to the State of New York. There's different ways that we can let them know and make it heard what we are doing.”

Kearns says he is concerned with the law will mean for his office. He says the bill is bereft of funding for staff training to spot forgeries, extra security in anticipation of many more people at DMVs, or deciphering documents from 195 different countries.

“The taxpayers of Erie County are going to have to subsidize the bill.” he said.

Kearns expects some sort of political retribution but he believes he is doing the right thing.