The memory and words of Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson, who died suddenly Saturday, lived on during a bill hearing on one of his final pieces of legislation to help homeless youth obtain a driver’s license for free.
Thompson, who was a longtime advocate of homeless and education initiatives, sponsored several bills focusing on homelessness, in particular homeless youth, throughout his his legislative career. Assembly Bill 363, which was heard Tuesday, requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to waive fees for driver’s tests for homeless youth as well as fees to replace a driver’s license. It also allows for free copies of birth certificates.
Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson read remarks Thompson had prepared to deliver at the hearing.
His statement described how homeless youth are a subpopulation that has unique challenges. “In the rest of our presentation you will learn more of their challenges; however, the golden ticket for them—in order to be successful in their future is to have access to identification in the form of a Nevada Driver’s License or Nevada ID,” Thompson’s statement said. “This is what this bill is about, as homeless adults currently are able to get duplicate licenses and or IDs.”
With proper identification, youth can potentially gain employment, apply for apartments, receive medical care and take needed steps to potentially exit homelessness. “I want to say that the last thing we want to happen is for a homeless youth to graduate and become a homeless adult,” his statement said.
Since Thompson was the only sponsor of AB363, state Sen. Yvanna Cancela, who chairs the Senate Committee on Growth and Infrastructure, needed to check on the process of moving the bill forward — other members of the committee suggested getting the entire Assembly to sponsor the bill.
AB363 passed the Assembly unanimously April 23.