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Note: The following report was created by the National Conference of State Legislatures ( www.ncsl.org) and provides an insight to the legislative challenges facing US jurisdictions as they move toward a uniform, improved driver license. There is also an interesting Appendix which reports state by state plans to  improve the driver license document:

Driver's License Integrity

Executive Summary

States have moved rapidly to address a variety of issues that were highlighted by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 related to driver's license issuance, administration and enforcement, and verifiability. (See Appendix A) Although not essential to or directly related to the atrocities committed on 9-11, discovering that many of the terrorists held driver's licenses - some fraudulently issued and some from states with lax issuance standards - has focused state leaders' attention on the many opportunities to improve driver's license integrity for a host of important public safety reasons. In 2000 alone, drivers with invalid licenses killed over 6,200 people and the total economic impact of invalid drivers in that one-year is estimated to have exceeded $25 billion. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) Enhancing issuance standards, driver's license document authenticity, and driver information verifiability will significantly improve the driver's license for its only required use - to prove state sanction to operate a motor vehicle - and for its many permissive uses that relate to proving identity. States are also increasingly cognizant of incidents of fraud and neglect that pervade many driver's license issuing authorities, an issue at the heart of comprehensive driver's license program reform.

Federal legislation to preempt states' control of their driver's license programs is currently being considered in Congress. This legislation is unnecessary because states are rising to the challenge of addressing this important issue, subject to significant legal challenge, and likely would create a huge unfunded mandate for states. Additionally, it would be considerably less effective than state action.

The purpose of this document is to define the issues that states must address in order to improve driver's license integrity and to propose a variety of options for state officials' consideration.


Rhode Island passed the first driver's license law in 1908. Since then, every state and territory has established a host of statutory provisions and administrative regulations to govern the privilege of driving. Driver's licenses were created for the purpose of protecting public safety by recognizing those individuals who met the necessary standards to receive state sanction to operate a motor vehicle. Generally, those standards include age, knowledge of traffic laws, physical capability to drive, and practical driving competence. Today, although driver's licenses are also used for many permissive purposes tied to verifying identity - from obtaining a library card to cashing a check to boarding an aircraft - the principal purpose of a driver's license remains unchanged; the only required use of a driver's license is to prove state sanction to drive. And, except for the commercial driver's license (CDL), states retain control of the standards governing driver's license issuance and enforcement. All states have required drivers to be licensed since 1954.

Driver's licenses are issued by states under the Constitutional authority of the Tenth Amendment, which reads "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." The result is that individual states have adopted driving standards appropriate to their own residents and have vested the authority to issue driver's licenses in a variety of state agencies. While a majority of states leave it to their respective Departments of Motor Vehicles or Departments of Transportation, this authority in some states is under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State or even the State Tax Commission. (See Appendix B)

A driver's license represents a tool that affords its holder vastly increased mobility to move within a state and among states. Therefore, states have collaborated to ensure the safety of the nation's roads. Two interstate compacts - contractual agreements among the states - govern states' administration of drivers. The Driver License Compact (DLC) and the Nonresident Violator Compact (NRVC) provide a means for state cooperation and information sharing. These compacts were developed by the states and are currently administered by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). The DLC, created in 1961, ensures that a driver's home state receives and processes information about traffic violations committed by that driver in another state. Forty-five states have adopted the DLC. The NRVC standardizes methods used by different jurisdictions to process traffic citations received by out of state residents. Forty-four states have adopted the NRVC since its development in 1972. These compacts, while limited in scope, illustrate the states' ability for cooperative action.

In 1986, under its authority to regulate interstate commerce, the federal government enacted the "Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act" (CMVSA). This act established national standards for the issuance of the CDL. Commercial drivers have required a CDL since 1992. According to the US Department of Transportation (USDOT), CDL's represent approximately 5% of the total number of driver's licenses issued in the United States. The USDOT reports that the United States has approximately 190 million licensed drivers.

Current Issues

A more effective structure for states to comprehensively enforce driving laws would significantly enhance public safety, as would individual state action. Such enhancements would include the following elements:

Integrity of license issuance - Ensuring that the person receiving a license meets necessary driving competency standards and has a verifiable identity.

Verifiability - Providing access to appropriate law enforcement officials to verify the authenticity of the license document, driving history, and identity of the license holder.

Integrity of License Issuance

All states verify the identity of a potential license holder before issuing a driver's license. The documents used to verify identity for this purpose are known as "foundation documents" because they provide the building blocks of personal information on which the license is issued. Foundation documents range from birth certificates, to utility bills, to passports, to other state's driver's licenses. The principal challenge related to foundation documents is states' ability to verify their authenticity and validity. States do not routinely verify, for instance, that the foundation documents with which they're presented are authentic (i.e. that the document is genuine) or valid (i.e. that the document is eligible to be used). For example, a deceased individual's birth certificate may be authentic, but it is invalid for use as a foundation document for a driver's license. Richard Varn, CIO of the State of Iowa provides a detailed discussion of this issue. In sum, Varn says that states must increase their ability to verify the authenticity and validity of foundation documents. He also provides the outline of an information infrastructure framework for doing so. Currently, few states actively verify foundation documents. Additionally, relying on an individual state employee's ability to recognize authentic documents is nearly impossible. Indeed, the Secret Service recently reported that the United States produces more than 16,000 different kinds of birth certificates.

A second but related issue is the process by which a state ensures that the individual presenting valid foundation documents is indeed the individual to whom those documents belong. It is possible, in other words, for Jane to present Sally's birth certificate and get a valid driver's license in Sally's name. The birth certificate itself is an authentic document but it does not belong to the person presenting it. Varn suggests that the use of foundation documents alone to prove identity is inadequate.

Then, of course, there's fraud. Fraudulent issuance of driver's licenses comes in two forms - fraud that occurs without the cooperation of the licensing authority and fraud that occurs with it. It is clear that the current system provides an individual who chooses to produce fraudulent foundation documents with a significant opportunity to illegally hold a valid license or licenses. As will be discussed later, such documents provide the ability to assume the identity of another individual in order to affirmatively commit a host of criminal offenses or to avoid responsibility for previously committed acts. It is in states' interests to create a system that significantly hampers criminals' ability to misuse the driver's license system.

The most comprehensive system, however, is only as strong as its weakest link. In many states, the weak link has proven to be licensing authority employees. News stories about such incidents abound and as the driver's license system is improved and the driver's license becomes a more secure and valuable document, it is likely that employee fraud, if unaddressed, will increase.

On October 1, 2000, for instance, the "Orange County Register" reported that California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) employees were selling fraudulent driver's licenses for up to $4000 a piece and that 60 active cases of fraud existed. In New Jersey, rings of DMV employees selling licenses for thousands of dollars a piece were uncovered by law enforcement during a two-year investigation according to "The Star-Ledger." Additionally, at least one state's motor vehicle administrator has stated publicly that her state does not input all relevant driving citations into the appropriate database. It is likely that the known incidents of fraud (and neglect) are merely the "tip of the iceberg" of issues related to driver's license administration.


Although most driver's license holders may very well believe that a law enforcement official in one state can quickly and accurately verify driver history on a driver from another state, the reality is much different. Although systems exist for this purpose, it can take from 30 to 60 minutes or longer to access driver record information in another state. The result is a practical inability to verify license information and driver history in real time. It is possible, then, that an individual stopped for a traffic offense could produce a counterfeit license - in the name of an individual who does not even exist - and escape detection. Another scenario is that an individual could produce a license in his or her own name that the law enforcement official could not immediately learn had been revoked or suspended. This is a significant public safety issue, since according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) individuals with invalid driver's licenses caused approximately 11% of fatal accidents in 2000. The cost in human life - over 6,200 fatalities - injuries, property damage, and increased insurance premiums is enormous. In fact, based on available NHTSA data, the economic cost of these fatal accidents alone was over $6 billion. And, the economic impact of all accidents in 2000 caused by invalid drivers is estimated to have exceeded $25 billion.

In addition to the acknowledged law enforcement need to verify the authenticity and validity of the license document and have real-time access to driver history information, it is also clear that the document must belong to the person holding it. The concept of collecting and using uniquely individual personal identifiers to tie driver's license holders to their license is decades old. Most states require a picture and even physical description to appear on license documents. The issue, though, is whether states should incorporate additional kinds of uniquely individual personal identifiers (e.g. fingerprints, retinal scans, etc.) into their licensing process and license documents to strengthen the connection between the license holder and the document and to decrease fraudulent issuance and use. Additional measures to improve verifiability are certainly warranted.

Misconceptions Regarding Current Driver's License Issues

There are many compelling public safety reasons to improve driver's license programs in individual states and the system for sharing information among states. It is difficult to defend, for instance, issuing authentic licenses to imposters and failing to adequately share information about unsafe drivers. However, those interested in laying the foundation for a national identification system, make two obviously false arguments for system reform. It's important to understand these arguments in order to fully appreciate the implications of pending driver's license system reform currently before Congress - legislation that would "federalize" the driver's license.

First, it is factually accurate that many of the September 11th terrorists held driver's licenses. Several terrorists were issued licenses under false identities and others held licenses in their own names. While it is clear that no state licensing authority would ever intentionally issue a driver's license to a terrorist, it is impossible to conceive of a driver's license system that could screen out individuals intending to use the license in the commission of some future crime. Certainly, recent experience in the Midwest involving a college student planting explosives in mailboxes proves that. (It is interesting to note, too, that a driver's license in that case proved to have a much more direct relationship to the crimes committed than did the licenses held by the September 11th terrorists. It has even been suggested that "federalizing" the sale of box cutters, an admittedly absurd suggestion, would be a more relevant response to the September 11th attacks than "federalizing" the driver's license.)

It must also be understood that the federal government has sole responsibility for admitting, regulating, and monitoring foreign nationals in the country. With regard to foreign terrorists, the federal government must prevent these individuals from entering the country in the first place. With regard to foreign nationals it chooses to admit, the federal government must at least make information about these individuals available to states in real time so that visas and other documents can be verified. The federal government may even want to consider certifying certain foreign nationals as eligible to receive a driver's license. And, states may wish to re-evaluate whether issuing licenses to "non-status" immigrants is appropriate, despite important public safety reasons for doing so. Should the federal government attempt to shift responsibility for monitoring foreign nationals to the states, the costs and liability issues for the states are enormous. Regardless of the approach, the federal government must provide significant leadership and direction to states on these matters and must be held accountable when it fails to do so. The best driver's license system will not and cannot stop terrorism. The suggestion that it could hampers important reform efforts.

Second, the problem of "identity theft" in the United States is significant. Indeed, it is used as a principal argument for improving the verifiability of driver's licenses. The argument is this - There are over 500,000 cases of identity theft a year. The driver's license is the most widely used form of personal identification. Improving the current driver's license system and creating a better driver's license document can eliminate identity theft. (See Betty Serian's testimony to Congress, April 16, 2002.)

A close examination of this argument reveals its significant flaws. First, the term "identity theft," as used by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is an umbrella designation for a variety of crimes that require the criminal misuse by one person of another person's personal information, even including the digital signature of a cell phone. The FTC's own statistics show that the vast majority of "identify theft" is actually credit fraud and bears little relation to the issuance of a driver's license. Indeed, although the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline telephone counselors do not specifically ask callers whether a fake driver's license was implicated in their case, callers are offered the opportunity to volunteer that information. Fake driver's licenses are reported in 2.7% of cases.

Second, the "over 500,000" figure is exaggerated by as much as 500 percent. The number comes from self-reporting by the three major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Esperian, and TransUnion) to the General Accounting Office (GAO). Because these agencies became concerned that individuals were placing "fraud alerts" on their accounts prophylacticly, whether they had actually been victims of credit fraud or not, the agencies changed their fraud alert procedures. Now, fraud alerts come in two forms. The first is a 30-day fraud alert, placed following an initial report of credit fraud. The second is a permanent fraud alert, placed upon request after the initial 30-day fraud alert expires. That change has reduced the estimated number of "identity theft" cases from over 500,000 to approximately 100,000 cases per year.

The result is that the best data available from the FTC suggests that the number of cases of identity theft per year, in which a falsified driver's license is implicated, is about 2,700, far fewer than the 500,000 plus cases suggested in recent Congressional testimony. It must also be noted that a breakdown of how those 2,700 licenses were issued does not exist. The vast majority of those could involve fraudulent issuance by licensing authority employees, for instance. This is important because it suggests that any reform of individual driver's license programs or the cooperative driver's license system must begin with a close examination of fraud in driver's license administration offices.

It is also important to note that those who advocate the use of the driver's license to stop the much larger and vaguely related problem of "identity theft" in its various forms admit that they want to expand the required use of a driver's licenses to non-driving purposes (e.g. the verification of identity for a host of other activities - banking, health care, etc.). This has enormous implications. Doing that would require tying public and private databases together. Such a system could certainly not be characterized as anything less than a "national identification system," with significant opportunities for misuse of information, violations of privacy, and license holder "tracking." Additionally, a large percentage (approximately 33%) of American citizens, residents, and visitors don't have driver's licenses because they don't drive. It is probable that such proposals would ultimately lead to the requirement that everyone be "licensed" in some form by the government whether they intend to drive or not. In other words, the driver's license would become an identity license.

The Scope of the Real Solution

By arguing that driver's licenses are more than they are and that any possible "fix" to the current driver's license system must address a range of unrelated collateral matters, advocates for an enhanced "identity security" system cloud the real issues and hamper an appropriate and effective solution. States should move to improve the integrity of issuance of driver's licenses and the verifiability of those licenses because doing so will address important public safety concerns related directly to the primary purpose of a license - state sanction to operate a motor vehicle - and will improve the license document for a host of other permissive uses. The scope of a real solution, then, must address the following elements:

Issuance Standards - States should consider adopting standards for issuing driver's licenses that include the use of verifiable (e.g. authentic and valid) foundation documents. Such standards will necessarily involve enhancement of the control and verifiability of foundation documents within states, among states, and between states and the federal government.

Driver Information - Collection, Sharing, and Exchange - States should consider enhancing their ability to share information about drivers with one another by consistently collecting and sharing driver information. This information should then be available to appropriate law enforcement officials in real time.

State Operation and Enforcement - States should consider examining their own driver's license authorities and should consider whether their lead law enforcement organization should take an enhanced role in administering the driver's license program. Although the integrity of current licensing authorities clearly varies from state to state, fraud in offices that issue licenses is a significant issue and cannot be ignored. An enhanced law enforcement role in licensing administration would likely greatly reduce fraud, ensure compliance with established standards, and promote government efficiency by tying the issuance of licenses to the enforcement of them. Additionally, states should consider additional penalties for criminal activity related to the improper issuance or manufacture of driver's licenses.

Tamper and Counterfeit-Proof Features - States should consider making the driver's license document more tamper resistant and difficult to counterfeit.

Accurate and Reliable Personal Identifiers - States should consider enhancing the type of uniquely individual personal identifiers they use to tie a driver to a driver's license document. This information should be verifiable in real time by appropriate law enforcement officials.

Verifiability - States should consider enhancing their communications and information infrastructure to allow real time access to driving history information, as well as the ability to verify the authenticity of the driver's license document.

State Driven Solutions

The acknowledged issues with the current driver's license system provide states with a significant opportunity to drastically increase public safety and reduce the associated costs of unsafe drivers. Although some argue that the federal government must preempt the states' authority in this area and mandate national driver's license standards, such an approach is unnecessary and substantially less effective than states acting independently and in concert with one another. State approaches have included and can include:

Establishing a "State Clearinghouse for Best Practices" to promote effective regulatory and legislative changes in states that mirrors the on-going efforts of CSG, The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and The National Governor's Association (NGA) on a wide array of issues. Information would be posted electronically and made available through annual or semi-annual written reports. The clearinghouse would document legislative enactments, regulatory changes, executive orders, interim committee reports and judicial decisions and provide links to related articles, publications and reports. Additionally, Clearinghouse staff could provide necessary technical support to states.

Drafting model legislation related to the issuance and verification processes. Model legislation would be collaboratively drafted by CSG, NCSL, and NGA or by an organization experienced with the production of model legislation. Recently, CSG, NCSL, and NGA drafted model legislation to streamline sales and use tax collection. Model legislation would identify issues that have surfaced in all or most states regarding driver's license issuance and verification and create a marker for individual states to target for making changes and modifications.

Developing uniform minimum standards that could be adopted by states for issuance and verification of driver's licenses through a joint CSG, NCSL, and NGA effort. States would have flexibility to go beyond the minimum standards and, therefore, continue to test additional ways of enhancing the integrity of the overall system. Intergovernmental agreements to ensure compliance could also be adopted.

A new "Interstate Compact on Driver's License Integrity" could be developed. Modeled on CSG's recent experience with the development and adoption of the Compact on Adult Offender Supervision, a new compact would replace the existing compacts, which were never designed as comprehensive and are inadequately administered. As a contract among states, the new compact would provide a mutually agreeable and enforceable framework for cooperative state action. Key advantages and elements of a new interstate compact, could include:


bulletSpeed of Enactment - The compact can be developed and implemented by states in as few as 30 months, consistent with CSG's experience with the adult offender compact. Compact development involves a consensus approach in which all states will have the opportunity to participate.


bulletFifty State and Full Territorial Adoption - The compact's language can encourage all states to adopt it in order to provide protection from unsafe drivers for their own residents and lower associated insurance and other costs. For instance, the language of the compact can preclude the sharing of driver information with non-compacting states. Additionally, compacting states could refuse to honor the driver's licenses from non-compacting states.


bulletAdministration and Enforcement - The compact can establish an Interstate Commission to oversee its administration and enforcement. This Commission could be granted authority to make and enforce rules in a far more effective and dynamic way than can the federal government, which can only establish static requirements. Enforcement provisions could include a range of mechanisms from alternative dispute resolution to fines and costs assessment, suspension and termination of membership in the compact, and judicial enforcement. The Commission would also oversee the development of an integrated information sharing system that preserves state control of driver information.


bulletCost - Development and enactment of the compact could likely be undertaken for approximately 1% of the funding authorized in recently introduced legislation to federalize the driver's license. Long-term costs would be addressed in the compact itself. This cost analysis is consistent with CSG's experience with the adult offender compact.


bulletStandards - States could mutually agree to much more rigorous standards than have been proposed in federal legislation.

States welcome the opportunity to engage the federal government in appropriate partnerships to ensure prompt enactment of these proposed solutions.

The "Federalized" Driver's License

Three pieces of federal legislation that would "federalize" the driver's license are currently under review by Congress.

Driver's License Modernization Act of 2002 (DLMA)

This act, introduced by Rep. Jim Moran and Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, requires that within five years states will implement driver's license programs with the following requirements:

Driver's licenses will become smart cards with computer chips that store a variety of information.

Biometric data to match the license with its owner will be collected.

States' participation in national databases will be required.

Tamper-resistant security features will be incorporated into all license documents.

States will adopt and implement procedures for accurately documenting the identity and residence of an individual before issuing a driver's license.

This legislation directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish necessary standards within six months of its adoption in consultation with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), the General Services Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The bill also authorizes the federal government to appropriate $315 million for grants to states to help offset initial costs of this new system. The specific language of the bill should be of interest to state leaders, however. It repeatedly directs the Secretary of Transportation to set standards but doesn't require federal funding to pay for new federally imposed requirements.

Driver's License Integrity Act of 2002 (DLIA)

Similar to the DLMA, this legislation drafted by Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois would require:

Minimum uniform standards for issuance and administration of state-issued driver's licenses.

Interstate sharing of driving information for verification with enhanced privacy protection within five years of enactment.

Enhanced ability for verification and authentication of the driver's license.

Prevention of abuse and enhanced penalties for internal fraud.

Similar state funding allocation.

DLIA requires the Secretary of Transportation to develop the minimum set of verification and identification requirements and supervise state implementation.

HR 4043

This legislation, introduced by Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, would bar Federal agencies from accepting a State-issued driver's license for any identification-related purpose unless the State requires licenses issued to nonimmigrant aliens to expire upon the expiration of the aliens' nonimmigrant visa.

Advocates for "federalizing" the driver's license argue that the state run driver's license system is broken and cannot be fixed without federal intervention and oversight. It has been argued that the national scope of the problem, the need to act quickly, and the associated remedial costs require a federally mandated solution. However, there are a number of significant weaknesses inherent in this approach. They include:

Federal legislation that deals with non-commercial driver's licenses would be subject to years of legal challenges on constitutional grounds and might be struck down.

The federal government took six years to implement the CDL license after passing the enacting legislation; six years to address a pool of licenses that is 1/20th the size of non-commercial driver's licenses. And, in May 2002, Daniel Hartman, who manages the division at the US Department of Transportation that oversees the CDL process, stated the most significant problem that system faces - 16 years after its enactment - is fraud in the licensing authority offices that administer the system.

"Federalizing" the driver's license would require a host of additional federal administrative and legislative action beyond the initial legislation in order to effectively administer and enforce the federal directives.

The "federalized" driver's license is "the on-ramp to the national ID highway" because it logically requires the federal government to assert control of the driving and personal data collected by states. This data could then be used for a host of non-driving related purposes without state consent.

The "federalized" driver's license that includes so-called "smart technology," as required by the DLMA, opens the driver's license document - without state consent - to a host of other required uses. It creates a document that could hold personal identifying information as well as credit and other information. Currently, the technology does not exist to make such a document tamper-proof. The difficulty of disclaiming use of a fraudulently produced version by the legitimate holder would be much greater as well.

Federal legislation requires the setting of standards without requiring the availability of funding to pay associated costs. These costs could extend far beyond the technology required to implement the federal approach and would likely include increased administrative costs for states and an increased burden to enforce violations of federal law.

Federal legislation, particularly the DLMA, entrenches the role of motor vehicle administrators as the issuers of driver's licenses at the state level. The federal government should not preclude states from reviewing whether their leading law enforcement organization should take an enhanced role in administering driver's license issuance in order to reduce fraud and promote government efficiency.


States have moved expeditiously, both independently and in concert, to address the issues with the current driver's license system. Although much work remains, state leaders increasingly understand the appropriate universe of issues that must be addressed and the urgency of action. State leaders welcome the cooperative efforts of the federal government through appropriate national organizations, but resist "federalizing" the driver's license. CSG and NCSL, in concert with other national organizations, remain committed to working closely together, and through their members - every elected and appointed state official in the nation - to improve the integrity of the state issued driver's license.



Examples of State Action to Improve Driver's License Integrity

Many states are enhancing their driver's license issuance process. Florida may make it a felony for anyone to sell or manufacture a counterfeit driver's license. It may also require non-citizens to show extra identification before being given a new or renewed license. In New Jersey, citizens may have to produce official copies of birth or marriage certificates to get new IDs. More state activities are described below:


Governor Minner's package of homeland security legislation includes S.B. 287 - Driver's License Security - Expands the requirements for persons applying for a driver's license in Delaware. Most significantly, it would require an applicant to provide proof that the applicant is legally in the United States. Sponsored by Sen. Henry and Rep. Smith.


In October, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ordered tighter controls on issuing driver's licenses to foreigners after the disclosure that three of the Sept. 11 hijackers had overstayed their visas yet had current Florida driver's licenses or state ID cards. Bush ordered that the licenses of foreign drivers expire at the same time as their permits to be in the country. He also directed that motor vehicle officials keep copies of any foreign documents used by license applicants.


Iowa's government is building a clearinghouse that state agencies could use to block the issuance of false driver's licenses and other personal identification documents. The Identity-Security Clearinghouse would electronically tie a resident's birth certificate to the issuance of a Social Security number and only one ID document, such as a driver's license. Safeguarding personal identities could reduce identity theft and fraud.


Legislation that would help protect Kansans' financial privacy won preliminary approval in the Senate. The bill would require that a person's thumbprint appear on a driver's license or state identification card, along with a photograph. To obtain a driver's license or identification card, a person would have to show proof of age or identity or both. After July 1, 2003, a thumbprint would be required. The legislation also would require an applicant to submit a Social Security number to be checked by the Division of Motor Vehicles. In addition, $1 would be added to the fee for obtaining a license. That would raise about $750,000 annually, which would cover the cost of validating the new data.

Foreigners applying for Kentucky driver's licenses must now wait up to 30 days to learn if they are eligible, under one of many changes adopted by the state Transportation Cabinet to ferret out illegal applicants. The state also has begun requiring foreign applicants to present photo identification and to prove they are residents of Kentucky by submitting lease agreements, utility bills or similar documents.


An amendment making non-citizens' drivers licenses a different color from citizens' licenses passed 14-10. Immigrants' representatives say making the licenses look different would subject immigrants to harassment and discrimination. Non-citizens' licenses would also expire at the same time as their visas.


A recent change in the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles computer system matches information supplied by Nebraskans with information supplied by the Social Security system.

Additional restrictions in Nebraska include having at least two forms of U.S.-based proof of identification including: birth certificate, a license from out of state that is not mutilated or altered and the signature match, a valid U.S. passport, a valid military identification card, marriage license or divorce decree, a foreign passport, foreign-based birth certificate, parole papers, naturalization papers, certificate of citizenship papers or legal offenders or inmate card.

New Mexico

Governor Gary Johnson signed House Bill 135, allowing the Taxation and Revenue Department to enact a regulation allowing the department to accept alternative documents for the issuance of a driver's license. Prior to the signing of this bill New Mexico State Law in Chapter 66-5-9B required the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) to obtain the Social Security Number (SSN) as part of the application for a driver's license. The division receives requests a weekly basis from legal resident aliens who are not eligible for a SSN. Many of those interested in driving privileges are the dependants of contract employees at our national labs, military installations and other high tech industry. Other requests come from international students studying in New Mexico. MVD will accept alternative identification documentation including passports, visas issued by the United States as well as other cards issued by the United States immigration and naturalization service.

West Virginia

West Virginia is on the cutting edge of a national effort to impose tighter restrictions on getting a driver's license. West Virginia is the only state in the nation that uses computer images of applicants' faces to make sure they are who they say they are. And the state is moving toward an even more advanced version of the technology. Facial imaging technology measures the bone structure of applicants' faces. It can then match one face against another. When an applicant gets his or her picture taken, the Department of Motor Vehicles computer compares his or her face against the photo already in the database that is connected the applicant's name. That system can catch a person who is pretending to be someone else. The system, which had been in place since 1997, has caught 8,000 to 10,000 potential imposters.

Driver's License Summary of State Action

Following the attacks on September 11th, most states have undertaken efforts to bolster security in the driver's licensing process. Issues such as license design changes, biometric information, increased penalties for fraud, limited replacement licenses, improved training for Department of Motor Vehicle staff members, and other safeguards are all being considered or have been acted on. Below is a summary of actions taken by states.

Expiration of Visa/DL Expiration

Several states have enacted legislation that ties expiration of an individual's driver's license to the expiration of the immigration visa. Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota and Ohio have all passed similar legislation. Additionally, Rhode Island and Michigan have passed legislation that requires driver's license applicants to submit proof that they are in the United States legally.

Increased Identification Requirements

A majority of states have altered the requirements necessary to obtain a drivers license. Previously, in some states, an applicant needed only one form of identification (in some instances, a picture identification was not required). However, following September 11th, restrictions have been implemented rendering obtaining a drivers license more stringent, but also, safer. Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, to name a few have all mandated increased requirements in the driver's license application process.

Technological Changes/Physical Changes to Drivers License

A few states have increased the technological aspects of their motorists' driver's licenses. These changes include biometric identifiers like thumbprints, facial structure, voice or the structure of the eye's retina to establish and verify--Georgia and West Virginia currently use this technology. California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Texas, and West Virginia currently collect fingerprints in the driver's licensing process, although only Georgia uses them to verify identity when issuing replacement licenses. Additionally, other states have mandated the implementation of a central database containing information on license holders. Kansas has passed legislation requiring a person's thumbprint appear on the driver's license. Nebraska, in 2003, will introduce a digital license containing personal information on a magnetic barcode. Connecticut will, effective July 1, 2002, issue a new driver's license containing: 1) A 2-D Bar Code with encrypted information, 2) "One-to-one" biometric facial recognition capability, and 3) Six state-of-the-art "overt" and "covert" security features. Minnesota has passed legislation that makes noncitizen's driver's license a different color from a citizen's license.

Federal Support Against ID Fraud

The federal government has also worked to aid states in the fight against ID fraud. With the passage of the USA Patriot Act, states are prohibited from issuing or renewing the license of anyone seeking to transport hazardous materials unless the U.S. Department of Transportation has cleared the individual seeking the license of any security concerns. Additionally, the Department of Justice must also perform a background investigation into the individual prior to issuance or renewal of a license.

Driver's License Legislation



Bill #

Summary Last Action as of May 2002
Alaska HB 344 Increase fees for non commercial driver's licenses and identification cards to allow state to convert to digital technology for identification cards and driver's licenses January 18, 2002: Introduced. April 15, 2002: Passed House. May 1, 2002: Do Pass from Senate Finance Committee.
Alabama HB 419 Authorizes the Department of Public Safety to implement security upgrades for driver licensing including features to aid law enforcement in determining whether the vehicle belongs to the license holder and bar codes with criminal history. Died at end of regular session.
Arkansas HB 1028 Allows passport photographs to be used on driver's license and allow for thumbprint on driver's license to be optional. March 23, 2001: Withdrawn by Author.
Arizona HB 2255 Removes provisions requiring proof of legal presence in United States under federal law and allowing other documents in lieu of social security number. Also, adding provision that possession of a driver's license is not proof of U.S. citizenship. January 21, 2002: read second time in House.
  SB 1459 See HB 2255 March 14, 2002: Held in Committee
California AB 60 Allows use of individual taxpayer identification number in lieu of social security number when social security number is not available. Requires showing of lawful presence in the United States, or that application for lawful immigration status has been initiated. Limits the duration of licenses or identification cards issued under these circumstances to 3 years. Passed both Houses, then withdrawn from enrollment by author: January 14, 2002.
  AB 2112 Non-residents 21 years of age or older, transporting hazardous materials must have hazardous materials endorsement that is recognized by the state. February 19, 2002: Introduced. May 9, 2002: Passed Assembly, in Senate to Rules Committee
  AB 1155 Makes it a crime for a government employee knowingly assist another person in obtaining a driver's license, identification card, or other document issued by Department of Motor if the employee knows that the person is not entitled to that document and that the person intends to use the document for an unlawful purpose. Passed Assembly June 5, 2001. June 12, 2001: in Senate Committees on Public Safety and Rules.
  AB 1474 Requires the DMV to cross-reference thumb or fingerprints collected at application for driver's license or identification cards with state Department of Justice database to prevent fraud. Increases driver's license fees to pay for system. Bill also prohibits use of this information by third parties. Passed Assembly June 4, 2001. June 12, 2002 referred to Senate Transportation Committee.
  AB 1754 Creates conspiracy misdemeanor for individuals other that government employees who assists another in obtaining a DMV document (e.g. driver's license or identity card) punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or $50,000 fine. May 23, 2002: Assembly Committee on Public Safety voted do pass.
  AB 2113 Creates misdemeanor for government employee to assist an individual in fraudulently obtaining a DMV document. Mandates that renewal of driver's licenses and identity cards must be made in person and requires DMV to compare photographs and likeness of information provided for issuance of new, or duplicate license or I.D. May 14, 2002: Assembly Committee on Pubic Safety voted do pass. May 16, 2002: Referred to Appropriations Committee.
  SB 661 DMV to create biometric identifier from the collect thumbprint at application for driver's license or identification card. Died February 4, 2002.
  SB 1254 Expands "personal identifying information" in identity theft law to include federal driver's license, biometric information, and other specified information. Also, this legislation increases penalties related to possession of identity information. Passed Assembly May 8, 2002. May 20, 2002: in Senate Committee on Public Safety.
Colorado SB 112 Requires that to receive a driver's license while using an out of state license for proof of age from a state that does not require licensee to be present in the U.S. lawfully, additional documentation is needed to prove lawful presence. April 2, 2002: Signed by Governor.
  SB 67 Authorizes the division of motor vehicles to issue a driver's license, temporary license, or identification card to a person with an individual taxpayer identification number issued by the internal revenue service. Eliminates the prohibition against issuing a driver's license, temporary license, or identification card to a person who is not legally in the country. Introduced: January 11, 2002. Died in Senate Committee on Government, Veterans and Military Relations, and Transportation: February 14, 2002.
  HB 1187 Decreases the term validity of a driver's license or identity card from 10 to 5 years. April 3, 2002: postponed indefinitely (dead) in House appropriations committee.


HB 5759 Allows Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to fingerprint applicants for driver's licenses. Signed by Governor: June 3, 2002.
  SB 19 Adds individual's photograph, digitized image and social security number to definition of "highly restricted personal information" to be disclosed only in accordance with 18 U.S.C. 2721 (FEDERAL DRIVER'S PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT) March 12, 2002: incorporated into SB 20 (Signed by Governor June 3, 2002)
Delaware SB 287 Requires social security number and proof of legal residence in the United States to receive a driver's license or identification card, and revocation if individual is deported. In Senate Public Safety Committed, January 22, 2002
  SB 299 Ties expiration of driver's license and identity cards to the date of expiration of legal presence in the United States. Requires proof of continued legal presence upon renewal. Introduced March 12, 2002. In Senate Public Safety Committed.
  SB 310 Fixes expiration of driver's license to date of termination of legal residence in the United States. Introduced March 14, 2002. In Senate Public Safety Committed.
Florida HB 223 Provides, that foreign residents who are in Florida with a visa and who are issued a Florida driver's license, that the driver's license shall expire 4 years after the date of issuance or upon the expiration of the visa, whichever date first occurs; prohibits renewal of a driver's license to a person who has been issued a visa unless the person presents a valid visa at the time of renewal. Tabled: March 14, 2002.
  HB 899 Similar to SB 306 (Enacted) Died: March 22, 2002
  SB 306 Adds provisions to fraudulent driver's license or identification card manufacture or sale. Allows investigation of activities by law enforcement. Approved by Governor April 25, 2002 (Chap. 2002-178).
  SB 520 Revises application requirements for driver's licenses and identification cards including use of out of state licenses from states that require submission of documentation of legal presence in the United States. Applicants may include submission of fingerprints. If nonimmigrant status is documented, expiration of the license is the date of expiration of those documents with a maximum of two years duration. If green card is used for identification the license shall expire on the fourth birthday after issue and individual is exempted from renewal in person. If identity is established by employment authorization card or any document for showing nonimmigrant classification, expiration is 4 years (or on the expiration of the document if sooner) after issue and requires renewal in person (changes of name or address must also be made in person). Also, amends statues related to fraudulent manufacture and sale of driver's licenses and identification cards. Passed Senate February 20, 2002. Passed House as amended: March 20, 2002. Senate concurred: March 22, 2002. Presented to Governor: April 30, 2002. Signed May 15, 2002.
  SB 324 Foreign residents who are in Florida with a visa and who are issued a Florida driver's license, that the driver's license shall expire 4 years after the date of issuance or upon the expiration of the visa, whichever date first occurs; prohibits renewal of a driver's license to a person who has been issued a visa unless the person presents a valid visa at the time of renewal. Died in Senate Transportation Committee: March 22, 2002.
Georgia HB 1008 Licenses expire upon ending of legal authorization in the United States. New licenses issued shall indicate whether the licensee is a U.S. citizen and the date of the end of their legal authorization in the United States. Read for second time in House: January 16, 2002.
  SB 480 Similar to HB 1008 Read and referred in Senate February 25, 2002.
  HB 851 Changes the definition of 'Resident' to a person who, except for infrequent, brief absences, has been present in the state for 30 or more days;
provided, however, that any person's status as a resident shall be determined without regard to whether such person is either a United States citizen or an alien with or without legal authorization from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
March 7, 2001: read second time.
  HB 983 Allows use of driver's license issued by a state that borders Georgia or a license issued by a country that borders the United States for driving in the state. Introduced January 14, 2002.
  HB 1131 Creates crime for manufacture, sale, or distribution of any counterfeit or altered driver's license or identification card and establishes penalties. January 30, 2002: To House Committee on Special Judiciary.
Hawaii HB 926 Allows use of unexpired passport in lieu of birth certificate to prove U.S. citizenship for issuance of identification certificate from the state. Carried over from 2001. Died at end of 2002 session May 2, 2002.
  HB 986 Creates the felony for sale or manufacture of deceptive identification document. Approved by Governor June 13, 2001 (Act 230)
  SB 645 Relating primarily to underage drinking-this bill requires magnetic strips or bar codes to be placed on all driver's licenses and identification cards to allow for electronic verification of age at the time of alcohol sales. Passed Senate March 6, 2001. Carried over from 2001. Died at end of 2002 session May 2, 2002.
  SB 786 Creates felony offense for the manufacture or sale of false identification to an individual under the age of twenty-one. Carried over from 2001. Died at end of 2002 session May 2, 2002.
Illinois HB 3382 Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code; allows the Secretary of State to accept an alternate form of identification for an applicant for a driver's license who does not have a Social Security Number; provides that a temporary license may be issued to an applicant if he or she is applying for a non-photo driver's license for religious reasons or as a result of facial disfigurement and is waiting for that application to be processed. In Rules Committee: May 23, 2001.
  HB 4174 As amended, requires Department of State Police and Secretary of State to develop a policy for collecting and encoding fingerprint information on driver's licenses and identification cards. Requires report to be submitted by April 1, 2003 on proposed policy, fiscal impact and suggested legislative measures. April 5, 2002: in House Rules Committee.
  HB 4472 Revises vehicle code to add prohibition of knowing use of use of fraudulent or altered driver's license or identification to purchase a ticket on, or board, a "common carrier." Passed Both Houses: May 7, 2002.
  HB 4951 Increases penalties for manufacturing or using false information to obtain a fictitious driver's license or identification card. Also, increases penalties for possession, manufacturing, etc. of a false driver's license or identification card. April 5, 2002: In House Rules Committee.
  SB 167 Provides that the Secretary of State shall license applicants request substitute for the applicants Social Security number his or her federal tax number or an alternative identifying number to be assigned by the Secretary. May 22, 2001: in Senate Rules Committee, Co-sponsor added.
  SB 1926 Driver's licenses and identification cards issued to persons under the age of 21 shall include the date upon the person turns 21 years of age. Sent to Governor May 22, 2002.
  HR 4 Urges the state Attorney General to review the policies or requiring SSN at application for state driver's license. Resolution Adopted, March 21, 2001.
Iowa HB 2608 Application for driver's license to include race. March 28, 2002: in House Transportation Committee
  SB 2192 Allows Department to waive social security number requirement for persons that are not foreign nationals temporarily present in the state. Also adds provision so that licenses and identification cards issued to foreign nationals shall expire with their legally present status, with duration not exceeding two years. Signed by Governor: April 4, 2002.
  SB 2302 Licenses and identification cards issued to foreign nationals shall expire concurrent with their legal status, not exceeding two years. February 26, 2002: in Senate Transportation Committee.
  HB 647 Amends provision relating to the release of digital photographs to allow for their release to state and federal agencies in performance of their duties. Signed by Governor: April 26, 2001.
Kansas HB 2135 Amends language relating driver's licensing, allowing use of IRS taxpayer identification number. Introduced: January 24, 2002. Referred to House Judiciary Committee: February 28, 2002.
  SB 410 Adds digital images to "motor vehicle records" that are not to be disclosed. Amends purposes and procedures for how and when those records can be disclosed including their use for carrying out law enforcement. Approved by Governor April 24, 2002.
  SB 559 Requires facial recognition identifier. Requires social security number. Requires legal presence in the United States. Temporary driving permit can be issued to individual not lawfully present in the United States that possess an IRS taxpayer identification number and can show KS residency. The temporary permit is revoked on expiration of visa and must be renewed annually. Passes Senate: March 12, 2002. Failed in House: April 11, 2002.
Kentucky HB 106 Implements a statewide child identification program where children between ages of 2 and 15 can be issued a non-driver identification card where picture taken for the card is stored in the driver license information system. April 9, 2002: Signed by Governor (Acts ch. 261)
  HB 188 Requires the circuit clerk to verify a person's driving status in the National Drivers Register before issuing the person a Kentucky license; requires applicants for a license to provide proof of residency; prohibits the issuance of a nondriver's identification card to any person who has a driver's license or instruction permit. License expiration when visa expires or one year, whichever is shorter. License renewal always one year. April 9, 2002: Signed by Governor (Acts ch. 264)
  HB 189 Requires all new applicants and persons initially renewing a commercial driver's license to undergo a state and national criminal background check. Allows a non-resident to be issued a CDL instruction permit and CDL if the person is enrolled in a truck-driving program. Requires that non-residents be issued a provisional Class D license for the purpose of including a CDL instruction permit into a single license. April 5, 2002: Signed by Governor (Acts ch. 204)
  HB 867 Creates a 16 member task force to analyze the cost to implement a process to issue secure and tamper-proof digitized driver licenses Passed House: March 19, 2002. In Senate Transportation Committee: March 25, 2002.
  HB 205 Requires the Social Security number of an applicant for an operator's license only if the applicant has a Social Security number; expands the list of eligible documents used by foreign nationals applying for a Kentucky operator's license. January 9, 2002: to House Transportation Committee.
Louisiana SB 89 A Ties expiration of visa to the expiration of driver's license, and prohibits nonresident alien from providing false information regarding lawful presence at application. Signed by Governor: April 18, 2002.
  HB 107A Removes identification cards issued by federal, state, or local government agencies and out-of-state driver's licenses from the list of identification documents and adds permanent resident alien cards issued after July 1997. Allows department to issues licenses and identification cards for a duration of less than years based on evaluation of immigration information. Introduced March 25, 2002. April 1, 2002: In House Transportation Committee.
Maine HB 80 (LD 89) Eliminates the requirement that a person submit a SSN for application for driver's license. Introduced January 9, 2001. Died on May 16, 2001.
  HB 850 (LD1122) Exempts clergy form submitting SSN for driver's license Died on April 30, 2001.
  SB 192 Repealing requirement that an individual who applies to the Motor Vehicle Administration for an application for an identification card may not have a driver's license; and repealing a requirement that a holder of an identification card surrender the identification card upon being issued a driver's license by the Administration.  
Maryland HB 1036 Authorizes the Motor Vehicle Administration's investigative division can issues citations for violations related to the issuance of identification laws. Signed by Governor: April 25, 2002 (Chapter 100)
  SB 639 HB 1036 Vetoed by Governor May 15, 2002. Cross filed bill (HB 1036) was signed.
  SB 192 Repeals a requirement that an individual who applies for an identification card may not have a driver's license. Also repeals a requirement that a holder of an identification card surrender the identification card upon being issued a driver's license. February 18, 2002: Senate Judiciary Proceedings Committee reported unfavorably.
Massachusetts HB 1268 Amends current law so as not to allow holders of valid out of state licenses to apply for a state liquor purchase identification card. House Committee reported May 23, 2001.
  HB 3087 Allows employees of liquor establishments to confiscate identification cards and licenses believed to be fraudulent. Bill now accompanies a study order (HB 5031) Discharged to House Committee on Rules: April 23, 2002.
  HB 3391 Eliminates the requirement that applicants for certain licenses provide their social security numbers. (not sure if this includes DL)  
Michigan HB 4037 Increases penalty for fraudulent duplication of driver's license. Establishes penalty for possession of fraudulent license. Approved by Governor: April 9, 2002 (Public Act 126-02)
  HB 5041 Bill was tie-barred to HB 4037  
  HB 5497 Prohibits the secretary of state from issuing a driver license to a person who is in the United States unlawfully. Further, the bill specifies that the expiration of a legal alien's license would be the customary expiration date (on the birthday of the person in the fourth year following the date of issuance), or the date on which that person's presence in the United States became unlawful, whichever occurred first. Passed House: February 7, 2002. In Senate Committee on Transportation and Tourism: February 13, 2002.
  HB 5504 Requires applicant for HAZMAT to provide fingerprints. No license will be granted if violation under "Terrorism" section of MI criminal law. Revocation for violation of "terrorism" or if individual if DMV has been notified that the individual is a security risk under the U.S. Patriot act by the U.S. DOT. Passed House: February 28, 2002. Amended in Senate and Passed March 21, 2002. Houses Concurred April 18, 2002. Approved by Governor: May 2, 2002 (Public Act 259-02)
  SB 931 Prohibits issuance of identification card to individuals not lawfully present in the United States. Issued identification cards will expire on the date presence is no longer lawful. Passed Senate: February 6, 2002. In House Committee on Transportation: February 6, 2002.
  SB 935 Requires submission of fingerprints for group designation for license. Criminal background checks. December 11, 2001: In Senate Committee on Transportation and Tourism.
  SB 943 Establishes penalty for transporting items requiring labeling under federal regulations for hazardous materials. Prohibits transport of hazardous materials without proper endorsement. Approved by Governor April 9, 2002 (Public Act 118-02)
  SB 955 Increases penalty for fraudulent reproduction or altercation of a driver's license. December 13, 2001: In Senate Committee on Transportation and Tourism
  SB 960 Requires lawful presence in the United States to obtain a driver's license. Department may report information on the illegal status of an individual found in examination of documents submitted for driver's license. December 13, 2001: In Senate Committee on Transportation and Tourism
Minnesota HF 2622 Requires proof of residency in state for driver's license application and renewal. Requires proof of lawful presence in the United States. Driver's license from another U.S. state is proof of lawful presence. If presence is only lawful for 30 days or less no license can be issued. Licenses issued expire on the date legal presence ends or the earlier of 4 years. Incorporates federal regulations for HAZMAT endorsement. Action
  HB 2487 Requires proof of residency in state for driver's license application and renewal. Requires proof of lawful presence in the United States. Driver's license from another U.S. state is proof of lawful presence. If presence is only lawful for 30 days or less no license can be issued. Licenses issued expire on the date legal presence ends or the earlier of 4 years. Action
  HB 2946

SB 2683

SB 2855

Among other provisions, if applicant is not a citizen or permanent alien, license expires on date visa expires. Action
  HF 3686 Resolution urging the U.S. Congress to repeal federal law requiring states to record social security number on application for a driver's license. March 12, 2002: Introduced.
  SF 3327 Companion to HF 3686 February 20, 2002: Referred to Senate Transportation Committee.
  HF 2122 Prohibits making or possessing a counterfeit driver's licenses or identification cards or having materials for counterfeiting. April 17, 2001: Committee reported to pass as amended.
  SF 1711 Companion to HF 2122 May 7, 2001: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.
Mississippi HB 1348 Driver's licenses and identification cards issued to non-U.S. citizens shall expire in one year. Died in Committee: February 5, 2002.
  SB 2737 Driver's licenses and identification cards issued to non-U.S. citizens shall expire in one year. Passed Senate: February 13, 2002. Died in House: March 5, 2002.
Missouri HB 1416 Requires person with immigration visa to notify the Director of Revenue of that fact upon application for driver's license. March 19, 2002: Executive session held, voted do pass.
  HB 1462 Details not available Introduced January 15, 2002; Withdrawn by author January 16, 2002.
  HB 1881 Allows the Director of the Department of Revenue to require aliens, at the time of application for a driver's license, to provide a translated and notarized copy of a birth certificate in addition to all other required information. Also allows individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) instead of social security number.


Passed House: April 4, 2002. April 15, 2002: Senate Committee voted Do Pass.
Nebraska LB 924 Authorizes the use of biometric identifiers on driver's licenses and identification cards. Died April 19, 2002.
  LB 574 Provides for the implementation of a digital system (for signatures and photos) for issuance of motor vehicle operators' licenses and identification cards. Signed by Governor March 28, 2001.
New Hampshire HB 1456 Creates a misdemeanor for any person to knowingly scan, record, retain, or store, in any electronic format, personal information obtained from any driver's license, unless authorized by the department of safety. Signed by Governor: May 17, 2002.
New Jersey AB 3922 Under current law, licenses are not granted to individual's not lawfully present in the United States. This bill addresses the problem of illegal aliens presenting false documents in order to receive a license. These bills also would close a loophole which has allowed certain aliens whose green cards have expired to retain a legal driver's license. The bill would require any license or identification card issued to an alien to expire on the date the alien's authorization to be in the United States expires. November 19, 2001: Introduced and referred to assembly appropriations committee.
  SB 2630 Identical to AB 3922 November 29, 2001: Combined With S2708
  SB 1159 Makes the forgery of means of identification, including a driver's license, a crime of the third degree. February 25, 2002: Introduced and referred to Senate Judiciary Committee
  SB 1332 Identical to AB 1346. Amends offenses related to unlawful use of "personal identifying information." Introduced and referred to Senate Judiciary Committee: March 14, 2002
  AB 1346 Identical to SB 1332. Second reading February 4, 2002.
  SB 2708 Driver's license and identification card expiration shall be fixed to end of legal presence in the United States. Director may refuse to grant a license if there is reason to suspect any identification documents are false until they are verified. Requires the use of digital pictures on driver's license. Allows the use of non-laminated licenses if they are secure. Allows the storage of motor vehicle information, digital photo and digital signature on a magnetic strip on the license. January 8, 2002: Approved (P.L.2001, c.391).
New Mexico HB 135 Allows Secretary to establish, by regulation, other documents that may be accepted instead of social security number. Signed by Governor February 28, 2002.
New York AB 9603 Allows the use of the individual tax identification number when a legal immigrant applies for a driver's license. January 11, 2002: In Assembly Transportation Committee.
  AB 9835 New York State driver's license of a resident from a foreign country, who has been issued a visa in this state, shall expire upon the expiration of the visa. May 14, 2002: held for consideration in Assembly Transportation Committee.
  SB 6062 Concurrent expiration of driver's license and visa. May 5, 2002: amended in Senate Transportation Committee.
  AB 9586 Drivers licenses of aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States and in New York to provide for concurrent expirations of such alien's visa and driver's license. Amended in Transportation Committee: May 10, 2002
  AB 9738 Allows the use of alternate forms of identification where an applicant for a driver's license does not have a social security number or an individual tax identification number. January 22, 2002: referred to Assembly Transportation Committee
  SB 2721 Every applicant for a driver's license on non-driver identification card will be required to submit proof that the applicant's presence in the United States in lawful under federal law. Ordered to third reading with amendments March 12, 2002.
North Carolina SB 600 Orders Division to recall all driver's licenses issued with invalid or fictitious social security number and reissue licenses upon showing a valid social security number. Passed Senate April 25, 2001, in House Committee as of October 10, 2001.
Ohio SB 184 Makes all licenses issued to temporary residents nonrenewable and may not be relied upon to obtain a license in another state. Nonrenewable license expires on same date on legal presence document. Signed by Governor: May 15, 2002.
Oklahoma HB 2887 Requires applicants for driver's license or identification card to submit fingerprint to be placed on driver's license. Failed: March 6, 2002.
  SB 982 Requires applicants for driver's license or identification card to submit fingerprint to be placed on driver's license. Passed Senate: February 28, 2002. Failed in House: April 16, 2002.
  HB 1308 Authorizes the use of fingerprints to prove identity for license or identification card. Adds fingerprint image to personal identifying information exception for state open records act. Also adds provision providing for $1 of license renewal fees, $3 of identification card renewal fees and $5 of license replacement fees are deposited into Department of Public Safety Computer Imaging System Revolving Fund to be used solely for the purpose of administration and maintenance of the computerized imaging system of the Department. Provides for licenses that bear the social security number shall be replaced with a computer generated number. Signed by Governor: June 4, 2001.
  HB 2277 Increases fine for providing false identification documents. Increases fine for employee knowingly issuing a state driver's license to a person providing false information. February 5, 2002: to House Criminal Justice Committee.
Pennsylvania HB 2416 Establishes thumbprint or other biometric database to be used for authentication of an individual's identification for driver's licensing purposes only. Referred to Transportation Committee March 13, 2002.
Rhode Island HB 6923 Requires all driver's license applicants to furnish proof that they are lawful residents of the United States. This act would take effect upon passage. January 30, 2002: Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration in House Corporations Committee.
  HB 7208 Resolution creating a commission to study the feasibility of encrypting state identification cards and driver's licenses with bar codes. February 5, 2002: to House Finance Committee.
South Carolina HB 4670 Permits certain persons from other countries who are present in South Carolina on a student visa or on a work visa or their dependents to obtain a driver's license or have their driver's license renewed by showing a valid INS, DOJ, or DOS document. Passed Both Houses: May 16, 2002.
South Dakota HB 1259 Adds race to information that must be provided at application for, and displayed on, a driver's license Died at end of regular session.
Tennessee HB 2695 Creates list of primary and secondary documents allowed for proof of identity and state residency. Carried over to 2003 session.
  SB 2680 Identical to HB 2695. In Senate Transportation Committee: April 23, 2002.
  HB 3486 Requires the Department to examine the state's licensing requirements in view of homeland security issues and report findings and recommendations. On calendar in House for May 22, 2002.
  SB 3139 Identical to HB 3186 Passed Senate April 24, 2002, In House.
  HB 2028 Requires affidavit stating that no social security number was issued and the submission of IRS I 94 form in order for a person without a social security number to be issued a license; redefines "resident" for purposes of driver's license issuance. January 15, 2002: Assigned to subcommittee on Transportation Safety and Planning.
  HB 2029 Removes provision allowing person without social security number to obtain license. April 23, 2002: Action defeated in subcommittee on Public Transportation and Highways.
  SB 1999 Identical to HB 2029 Assigned to subcommittee of Transportation: April 23, 2002
  SB 1266 Authorizes person without social security number to receive driver license if person submits an affidavit affirming that they have never been issued social security number. Also allows noncitizens to be given a driver's license if they provide proper documents demonstrating identification. Signed by Governor: May 3, 2001.
  HB 983 Identical to SB 1266 See SB 1266
Texas HB 396 Allows use of other documents if applicant for driver's license does not have a social security number including a tax identification number or a letter from the social security administration. Bill also includes list of documents to prove identity at application for driver's license including a passport, foreign work permit that bears a photograph or any other proof of identity satisfactory to the Department. June 17, 2001: Vetoed by Governor.

Note: Texas had no 2002 session.

Utah HB 187 Becomes class C misdemeanor to alter date on driver's license or to use a false or modified identification card. Signed by Governor: March 18, 2002.
  HB 101 Requires race information be provided at application for driver's license or identification card. Bill substituted now requires law enforcement agencies to adopt policies against unconstitutional traffic stops (February 7, 2002).
  SB 133 Allows a driver's license or identification card applicant to provide an affidavit if they do not qualify for Social Security number or temporary identification number; requires an applicant for a driver license or identification card to provide a Utah residence address. Defeated March 6, 2002.
  HB 350 Repeals provision allowing IRS temporary identification number at application for driver's license. Bill further requires applicants to provide Utah residence address. Died March 6, 2002.
Vermont HB 588 Requires the department of motor vehicles, at the time of issuing a motor vehicle operator's license, to check the identity and background of the applicant through the National Crime Information Center and the Social Security Administration. Passed House March 20, 2002. March 22, 2002: read first time in Senate.
Virginia HB 14 Increases fraudulently obtaining or aiding another in fraudulently obtaining a state driver's license from a Class 2 misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony. Requires legal presence in the United States to obtain a license or identification card and ties expiration date to the date of legal presence. Incorporated by HB 638: February 5, 2002.
  HB 637 Requires the Department of State Police and the Department of Motor Vehicles to enter into agreements with the US Department of State, the INS and other federal law-enforcement agencies to bring about the interchange of information concerning those aliens residing in the US who hold or apply for Virginia driver's licenses. Approved by Governor: April 2, 2002 (Chap. 412).
  HB 638 Using false identification for any purpose other than engaging in age limiting activity becomes a Class 6 felony. Prohibits the use of immigration visas and written statements for proof of Virginia residency. Allows for individuals under the age of 19 to show proof of their parent's residency as proof of their own. Directs the Director of the DMV to study and report back any other modifications that may be needed to enhance the identification and residency requirements. Approved by Governor: April 7, 2002 (Chap. 767).
  HB 798 Requires non-U.S. citizen applicants for driver's license to submit a fingerprint. Carried over to 2003
  SB 62 Requires thumbprint or other biometric for application for driver's license Passed Senate: January 30, 2002. Failed in House: February 21, 2002.
  SB 162 Identical to HB 638 Approved by Governor (Chap. 834).
  SB 376 SB 62. Incorporated by SB 62: January 24, 2002.
  HB 415 Requires applicants for driver's licenses, commercial driver's licenses, temporary driver's permits, learner's permits, motorcycle learner's permits, and special identification cards to submit documentary proof of their name, date of birth, and Virginia residency. Incorporated by HB 638 (enacted). February 5, 2002.
  HB 630 Creates class 1 misdemeanor for creating for another a forged or false driver's license. Tabled in Committee: January 21, 2002.
Vermont SB 298 Bill, as introduced, added language that tied expiration of driver's licenses to the expiration of visa. Entire bill was struck and replaced through a Senate amendment. Passed Senate: April 16, 2002. Amended in House: May 16, 2002.
Washington HB 2420 Improves the security of Washington state driver's licenses by verifying the citizenship or legal residence of applicants for driver's licenses in Washington and verifying the Social Security numbers of applicants for driver's licenses in Washington. Referred to Select Committee on Community Security: January 16, 2002.
Wisconsin AB 789 Requires DOT to take a thumbprint of all applicants for driver's licenses and identification cards. March 26, 2002: Failed to pass.
Wyoming HB 153 Would allow use of temporary identification number issued by IRS for persons who do not have a social security number at application for driver's license. February 14, 2002: Introduced and referred to House Transportation and Highways Committee.



Location of Driver's License Issuing Authority by State


DMV Location

Alabama Public Safety
Alaska Department of Administration
Arizona Department of Transportation
Arkansas Finance and Administration
California Finance
Colorado Revenue Cabinet
Connecticut Own Department
D.C. New Separate Department
Delaware Department of Public Safety
Florida Highway and Safety of Motor Vehicles
Georgia Department of Public Safety
Hawaii Hawaiian DMV Special Processing Unit- Private
Idaho Department of Transportation
Illinois Secretary of State
Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Iowa Department of Transportation
Kansas Division of Motor Vehicles
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
Louisiana Department of Public Safety
Maine Secretary of State
Maryland Department of Transportation
Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles
Michigan Secretary of State
Minnesota Department of Public Safety
Mississippi Department of Public Safety
Missouri Department of Revenue
Montana Department of Justice
Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles
Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles
New Hampshire Department of Safety
New Jersey Department of Transportation
New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Cabinet
New York Department of Motor Vehicles
North Carolina Department of Transportation
North Dakota NA
Ohio Division of Motor Vehicles
Oklahoma Tax Commission
Oregon Department of Transportation
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles
South Carolina Department of Public Safety
South Dakota Department of Commerce & Regulation
Tennessee Department of Safety
Texas Department of Public Safety
Utah State Tax Commission
Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Washington Department of Licensing
West Virginia Department of Transportation
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Wyoming Department of Transportation



Interstate Compacts

Interstate compacts are the most powerful, durable, and adaptive tools for ensuring cooperative action among the states. As one of the oldest mechanisms for states to work together, their use predates the founding of the nation. Unlike federally imposed mandates that often dictate unfunded and rigid requirements, interstate compacts provide a state-developed structure for collaborative and dynamic action, while building consensus among the states. The very nature of an interstate compact makes it the ideal tool to meet the demand for cooperative state action to develop and enforce stringent standards, while providing an adaptive structure - through an interstate commission or governing authority - that can evolve to meet new and increased demands over time. Today, there are over 200 interstate compacts that have been identified by CSG.

Interstate compacts are adopted by individual states when enabling legislation is enacted. They are subject to the substantive principles of contract law and are protected by the constitutional prohibition against laws that impair the obligations of contracts (US Constitution, Article 1, Section 10). Once enacted, compacts may not be unilaterally renounced by a member state, except as provided by the terms of the compacts themselves. Compacts often contain their own enforcement mechanisms and courts can compel compliance with their terms. These elements make compacts the most effective means of ensuring interstate cooperation.

General Purposes

Establish a formal, legal relationship among states to address common problems or promote a common agenda.

Create independent, multi-state governmental authorities (e.g., commissions) that can address issues more effectively than a state agency acting independently, or when no state has the authority to act unilaterally.

Establish uniform guidelines, standards, or procedures for agencies in the compact's member states.

Create economies of scale to reduce administrative and other costs.

Respond to national priorities in consultation or in partnership with the federal government.

Retain state sovereignty in matters traditionally reserved for the states.

Settle interstate disputes.

Examples of Interstate Compacts

Recent examples of interstate compacts illustrate the effectiveness of compacts in solving and addressing critical multi-state issues.

Emergency Management Assistance Compact

The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) is a mutual aid agreement and partnership between states that exists because all states share a common enemy: the constant threat of disaster.

EMAC allows states to assist one another during emergencies. EMAC offers a quick and easy way for states to send personnel and equipment to help disaster relief efforts in other states. There are times when state and local resources are overwhelmed and federal assistance is inadequate or unavailable. Out-of-state aid through EMAC helps fill theses gaps.

EMAC establishes a firm legal foundation. Requests for EMAC assistance are legally binding, contractual arrangements that make states that ask for help responsible for reimbursing all out-of-state costs and liable for out-of-state personnel. States are assured that sending aid will not be a financial or legal burden for them.

EMAC provides fast and flexible assistance. EMAC allows states to ask for whatever assistance they need for any emergency, from earthquakes to acts of terrorism. EMACs simple procedures also mean states can dispense with bureaucratic wrangling.

Since being approved by Congress in 1996 as Public Law 104-321, 46 states and two territories have enacted EMAC, and other states are in the process. EMAC played a critical role during the September 11, 2001 attacks by providing assistance to those states in need.

Interstate Compact on Adult Offender Supervision

The Council of State Governments, in collaboration with the National Institute of Corrections, has supervised the development and is currently overseeing the introduction and enactment of the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision. At issue is one of the most significant public safety issues in the nation - the management, monitoring and supervision of adult parolee and probationers in states other than where they were sentenced. The current Interstate Compact, having been in place for more than 60 years, no longer supports an evolving criminal justice system. The new compact will ensure that states can effectively manage adult parolees and probationers who travel to, or are supervised in, states other than where they were sentenced.

Primary changes to the Original Interstate Compact (1937) include:

The establishment of an independent compact operating authority to administer ongoing compact activity.

Gubernatorial appointments from all member states on a national governing commission that meets annually to elect national commission members, who serve as the compact's governing body.

Rule-making authority and provision for significant sanctions to support essential compact operations.

A mandatory funding mechanism sufficient to support essential compact operations (staffing, data collection, training/education, etc.)

Compelling collection of standardized information.

The new compact was enacted by 36 states in just 30 months and has been introduced in many others. Following the adoption by the 35th state (Pennsylvania on June 19, 2002), the compact became fully operational. It is likely to be a full 50 state compact by 2004.


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Copyright © 2003-2012 Identity Systems Group
Last modified: 08/10/12

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