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August 2002

By Submission

Selective Service Linked To Driver's Licenses

Last month Missouri became the 25th state to enact driver's license legislation supporting the Selective Service System registration requirement. This means that half the states now have driver's license laws linking a man's application for state driver's license or renewal to his legal and civic obligation under federal law to register with the Selective Service System (SSS). Missouri Gov. Bob Holden signed Missouri House Bill 1265 on July 11, 2002. The law will go into effect on August 28, 2002. The bill was sponsored by Reps. W.W. Bill Gratz and Carl M. Vogel.

Selective Service System Director Alfred Rascon stated the new law will serve to increase on-time registration in Missouri as similar laws in other states have done. For example, in May 2002, Delaware, which enacted driver's license legislation in August 2000, became the first state to reach nearly 100 percent registration compliance since the Agency began compiling this date. "More importantly, the Missouri law helps protect a young man's eligibility for many programs and benefits linked to Selective Service Systems registration," Rascon said.

Men must be registered with the SSS before they can receive state or federal student loans and grants, training programs underwritten by the US Department of Labor, and federal jobs in the Executive Branch of the US Government, including jobs with the US Postal Service. Additionally, male immigrants who are in the US when they are 18 through 25 years old can be denied citizenship if they fail to register.

In addition to Missouri, there are 24 other states, the District of Columbia and two territories with driver's license laws related to Selective Service registration. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands.

The SSS is the federal agency charged with being ready to draft men for military service in a national emergency. While there is no draft today, registration has been ongoing since 1980 so America remains prepared to conduct a fair and equitable draft in a crisis, if needed. Virtually all young men living in the US are required to register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Although late registrations are accepted, a man cannot register once he reaches age 26. Failure to register is a felony.

 

 

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