From the Morning Memo:

The progressive advocacy group New York Communities For Change in a statement released this morning called for the passage of a bill extending access to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, calling it the fulfillment of the promise of a Democratic-controlled state Senate for the first time in a decade.

“As leaders in the progressive movement in New York, New York Communities for Change worked hard to help elect a Democratic Majority that would finally be able to advance long-stalled progressive policies,” the group said.

“While some good progress has been made, with just a few weeks left of session, there is more that needs to be done, namely restoring the right to obtain a driver’s license for the hundreds of thousands of immigrant New Yorkers who had this right stripped away nearly 20 years ago.”

The measure is expected to be considered by the Assembly Transportation Committee on Wednesday and could gain a floor vote by next week. But the provision, known by supporters at the Green Light Bill, faces an uncertain pathway forward in the state Senate, which Democrats flipped from Republican control last year.

The issue has long been a third rail in New York politics after a proposal by then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer ended in a firestorm of protest.

But this year, supporters hope the debate will turn out differently, seeking to make an economic argument behind the benefits of the legislation. And they point to other states that already allow undocumented residents to have access to driver’s licenses, touting the benefits of insurance and traffic safety.

“New York cannot claim to be the nation’s progressive capital when we’ve fallen behind the 13 other states, including California and even more politically conservative states such as Utah, that already allow all immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses,” the group said. “We need our leaders to lead, to stand up for those without a voice and take action instead of just paying lip-service. With a Democratic Majority in place, we no longer have the excuse of Republican control if this doesn’t get done.”