A key issue which will come before next year's session of the Texas Legislature, and an issue which is certain to be controversial, is a proposal which will be introduced to grant drivers licenses to illegal immigrants, 1200 WOAI news has learned.
Several lawmakers have already agreed to introduce the measure.
Supporters say there are several advantages to citizens to granting undocumented immigrants the right to apply for, and receive, Texas Drivers Licenses.
Alberto Ruiz, of the Legal Aid Initiative, says the key benefit in the 14 states which already allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers licenses, has been a reduction in auto insurance rates, because more people are buying car insurance.
"The insurance rates across the states have been reduced, because from one week to another we have added people in those states onto the insurance rolls," Ruiz said.
Currently, many of the estimated 2 million illegal immigrants who live in Texas drive anyway, without licenses, without insurance, and without any training about highway laws or even a knowledge that they can read the road signs. Ruiz says allowing them to have drivers licenses will overcome a lot of those problems.
"They will have to learn about what the signs and the information on our roads mean," he said. "That makes them better drivers."
Several children of undocumented individuals who were brought to the U.S. as infants now are able to apply for drivers licenses under the 'Deferred Action' program announced by President Obama in 2012. They say having a drivers license gives them the freedom to be able to travel, and also protects them against wage theft, because frequently wages for the day labor jobs which many illegal immigrants have are frequently tied to drivers licenses, because the workers don't have Social Security numbers.
Ruiz says it will also deal with a major frustration that many Texans have. Currently, when you get into an accident with an illegal immigrant, that person has no incentive to cooperate with the police, or even to remain at the scene of the accident.
"In the past where you have gotten into an accident with an undocumented person, there is nothing to report because these people are 'judgment proof'," he said.
He says granting drivers licenses to illegals will require that they follow the rules of the road that citizens currently have to follow.
It is expected to be a tough climb for the proposal. One of the key issues in the race for Lieutenant Governor, the person who controls the Senate and controls the Legislative agenda, is who is toughest agaisnt illegal immigration.