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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


     Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to provide for compliance with the federal REAL ID law, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
     SECTION 1.  Section 8 of chapter 90 of the General Laws, as most recently amended by section 17 of chapter 52 of the acts of 2016, is hereby amended by striking out the last 4 paragraphs and inserting in place thereof the following 6 paragraphs:–
     A license or any renewal thereof issued to an operator shall be valid from the date of issue and shall expire on a date to be determined by the registrar which shall be not more than 60 months from the date of issue, provided, however, that the registrar may authorize a 1-year extension of the period of license validity for a licensee who has undergone medical treatment for an illness resulting in temporary changes to the physical characteristics of the applicant that would be apparent in an image captured by the registrar, as authorized in this section and section 8E. For the purposes of this section, a license issued to an operator born on February 29 shall expire on March 1.  An applicant for renewal of a license who is 75 years of age or older shall apply for renewal in person at a registry branch office.
     Applications for licenses shall be in such form as may be prescribed by the registrar and shall be signed by the applicant under oath. Only a resident of the commonwealth shall be eligible to apply for a driver’s license issued by the registrar. If an applicant is under 18 years of age, the application shall be accompanied by the written consent, in such form as the registrar shall determine, of a parent or guardian or other person standing in place of a parent of the applicant. The photograph or facial image of the applicant required to be made a part of any license issued by this section shall be retained with the application for the period of time required by regulations of the registrar even if a driver’s license has not been issued.
     The registrar shall issue more than 1 type of license which shall be in such form and type as may be prescribed by the registrar. The registrar shall issue 1 type of license that is compliant with the REAL ID Act. An applicant for a license shall provide documentation and demonstrate qualifications acceptable to the registrar. REAL ID-compliant licenses shall be suitable for federal identification purposes and shall be so marked. The registrar shall also issue a Massachusetts license to an applicant who provides documentation and demonstrates qualifications acceptable to the registrar. A Massachusetts license shall not be used for federal identification purposes and shall be so marked. No REAL ID-compliant license shall be issued to a person who fails to provide proof of lawful presence; provided, however, that United States citizens and other persons who provide proof of lawful presence may elect to apply for either a REAL ID-compliant license or a Massachusetts license. No license of any type may be issued to any person who does not have lawful presence in the United States.
     The registrar may issue a REAL ID-compliant license or a Massachusetts license for a term of less than 60 months to a resident of the commonwealth who is lawfully present in the United States for a period of at least 12 months; provided, however, that the expiration date of any such license shall be coterminous with the expiration date of the licensee’s authorized stay in the United States, as evidenced by acceptable documents or information provided to the registrar.  If a licensee is authorized to stay in the United States for at least 12 months but lacks acceptable evidence of a specific date by which such stay in the United States shall be terminated, a license issued shall expire not later than 12 months from the date of issue.  No license of less than 60 months in duration shall be renewed unless the license holder provides documentation satisfactory to the registrar that the license holder is authorized to remain in the United States.  Any such license shall have an expiration date coterminous with the expiration of the authorized stay.  All licenses issued for less than 60 months in duration shall be marked as temporary.
     An applicant for a license under this section shall be required to answer questions on the examination to determine the applicant's knowledge of the laws regarding operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs or while sending or receiving electronic messages which shall include the relevant sections of this chapter, chapter 94C and chapter 138.  The registrar shall determine the nature and number of such questions.
     An applicant for a license or renewal thereof appearing in person at a registry branch shall take and pass a vision test administered by the registry; provided, however, that except as required by the registrar by regulation, an applicant may provide a vision screening certificate, signed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, to demonstrate compliance with the minimum visual standards to obtain and hold a license.  The vision screening certificate shall not be deemed invalid by the registrar solely because it contains an electronic signature.
     SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect as of July 1, 2016.

Approved, July 25, 2016.