CASPER, Wyo. — A bill proposing to create a new Wyoming digital driver’s license is moving through the Wyoming House of Representatives.
House Bill 05 passed on first reading in the House during their Wednesday, Feb. 19 floor session. The House will need to pass the bill on two further readings before it would move to the Senate for consideration.
The House Appropriations Committee unanimously voted 7-0 on Feb. 17 to recommend that the bill pass with amendments.
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Those amendments aim to clarify that the digital driver’s license would be optional rather than mandatory.
“A digital driver’s license is optional to purchase, supplemental to a physical driver’s license and may be accepted in lieu of a physical driver’s license at the option of the person requesting or requiring proof of licensure or identification,” one such amendment to the language of the bill reads.
While Wyoming will continue to rely on physical driver’s licenses, the bill would create digital driver’s licenses and IDs if passed.
“‘Digital driver’s license’ means a secure electronic representation of a physical driver’s license that is stored on the driver’s portable electronic device and may be viewed or verified by a person to whom access is allowed,” the proposed legislation reads.
The cost of the digital driver’s license would be $20 in addition to the cost of a physical license.
A digital identification card would cost $10 in addition to $10 for a physical identification card.
“No digital driver’s license shall be issued unless the applicant holds the corresponding physical driver’s license or unless the corresponding physical driver’s license is issued simultaneously,” the proposed bill adds. “The department may digitally cancel, suspend or revalidate a digital driver’s license on the occasions that a physical driver’s license would be taken possession of, cancelled, suspended, returned or reinstated, as appropriate.”
In cases where a law enforcement officer requires a citizen to show their identification, the bill attempts to protect people’s privacy if they are showing a digital license.
“For purposes of this section ‘display’ of a digital driver’s license means that a licensee may provide access to the digital driver’s license on the licensee’s portable electronic device,” the proposed bill states. “No law enforcement or judicial officer demanding display of a licensee’s digital driver’s license for any licensing or identification verification purpose shall take custody of the licensee’s portable electronic device.”
“Display of a digital driver’s license shall not serve as consent to search the driver’s portable electronic device.”
If someone’s license were to be revoked, that would mean surrendering the physical driver’s license and cancelling the digital license.
The bill is sponsored by the Joint Transportation, Highways & Military Affairs Interim Committee.
If passed into law, the creation of the digital licenses is expected to generate an additional $640,000 per year beginning in fiscal year 2021 for the state’s highway fund.
That is assuming that an average of 160,000 cards are created per year and that 20-30% of the Wyoming population participates in the program.
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