Dec 4 (Reuters) - Illinois took a major step on Tuesday toward granting drivers licenses to illegal immigrants, which would make it the most populous U.S. state to allow undocumented migrants to legally drive.
The Democratic-controlled state Senate voted 41-14 to approve licenses for illegal immigrants to raucous cheers from the legislative gallery.
If approved by the House, also with a majority of Democrats, and signed into law by Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois would join only two other states, Washington and New Mexico, in granting such drivers licenses. Utah allows driving permits.
On Jan. 1, California will allow immigrants with federal work permits to receive licenses.
Illinois Republican leaders joined in support of the proposal on Tuesday after Republicans took a drubbing at the polls in November, when an estimated 66 percent of Hispanics voted for Democratic President Barack Obama.
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