Dan Warren has been a frequent critic of officials in local, county and state government. Now, the West Seneca resident is turning his attention to Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns and his lawsuit over the so-called "Green Light" law.
- An Erie County man is asking a judge to dismiss Kearns' lawsuit challenging the law
- Warren is concerned the county could lose millions in revenue through local DMV transactions
- Oral arguments in federal court in the lawsuit are set to begin next month
"We have our local elected officials taking a stand against a law that the state legislature passed," Warren said.
Warren, a registered Republican, is asking a judge to throw out Kearns' federal lawsuit over the measure, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this year. He's filing a motion for intervention to move for dismissal. Kearns’ suit, through the Erie County Attorney, is against Cuomo, Attorney General Letitia James, and Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark Schroeder.
Kearns, a Republican-endorsed Democrat, says the law to allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses is unconstitutional and violates federal immigration laws. He's vowed to refuse to process license applications through the County Auto Bureau because it puts clerks in a position to choose between federal and state law.
That's where Warren sees a problem.
"You have one group of politicians complaining about what another group of politicians did and yet again, who's left out? The taxpayer," Warren said.
If you have a transaction like applying for a license or renewing a registration at the county auto bureau, the county receives a part of the transaction fees from the DMV. If you complete the transaction online, all the money goes to Albany.
Last year, Erie County received more than $4 million in the agreement. Warren is concerned that because of Kearns' lawsuit and objections, the DMV could decide to take over local operations, and the county could lose that money.
"Our property taxes are going to up. My property taxes are going to go up," Warren said.
A spokesperson for the DMV did not immediately return a request for comment due to pending litigation.
Kearns has said he's concerned about potential prosecution from the Justice Department for processing license applications of undocumented immigrants, or face removal from office by Gov. Cuomo if he refuses to process the license applications.
Warren argues that officials in several other states that have similar laws have not faced prosecution — so the lawsuit is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
"This is a needless way to put that $4 million in annual revenue to the County of Erie in jeopardy," Warren said.
Kearns responded to Warren's motion with the following statement:
We have been made aware that there is a pending additional filing from a taxpayer in Erie County seeking dismissal of our Complaint. We remain confident in our legal position and will continue to prepare for the court’s scheduled oral arguments of September 25th. I appreciate that a taxpayer is examining the financial implications of the Green Light Bill. As I prepare my budget, I am also anticipating the unfunded costs that Albany has put upon the taxpayers of Erie County.