Legislature(2001 - 2002)
02/05/2002 08:02 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 344-INCREASE DRIVER'S LICENSE FEES CHAIR COGHILL announced the next order of business, HOUSE BILL NO. 344, "An Act increasing fees for driver's licenses, instruction permits, and identification cards; and providing for an effective date." LINDA SYLVESTER, Staff to Representative Pete Kott, Alaska State Legislature, told the committee that Representative Kott is the chair for House Rules Standing Committee, which is sponsoring HB 344. She explained that HB 344 would raise the fees for driver's licenses by $5, and instruction permits by $10. The revenues would go into a general fund. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) would also seek additional funds to implement "the first-ever overhaul of the driver's license format." The current laminated license will be converted to a digital license system, which will bring Alaska up to the national standards, in terms of security and fraud prevention. MS. SYLVESTER noted that Alaska is one of four states that have not yet switched to the digital licensing system. In the wake of September 11, 2001, there is a demand to "harden" all licenses, rather than to create a national ID card, she said. She listed other standards that have been set [regarding] digitalization as follows: appearance, photo file format, and a readable media. MS. SYLVESTER told the committee that the idea [for adopting digital licensing] was initiated by DMV and by a group called CHARR [Cabaret Hotel Restaurant & Retailers Association]. She explained that the cigarette and alcohol industries carry the burden of ensuring the [validity] of licenses. The present type of laminated licenses are difficult to read in a bar, she said. MS. SYLVESTER pointed to examples of digital licenses [included in the committee packet]. She said that the need for [the ID checker at a bar] to look for the date of birth on a license and calculate the age of the ID holder will not be necessary, because underage ID's will be formatted vertically on the card, instead of horizontally. MARY MARSHBURN, Director, Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Administration, told the committee that HB 344 would provide the necessary funds for a much-needed change to digital licensing. She said that the four states currently without digital licensing are Alaska, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Rhode Island. MS. MARSHBURN said that the advantages of digital licenses are that they are computer generated, more difficult to alter, have machine-readable data, are embossed into card stock, and can incorporate multiple security features. If someone were to alter the face of a digital license, the information from that license could still be read by machine. Furthermore, a digital photo of the applicant is taken, which can be sent to law enforcement. If a person comes in to report a lost driver's license, the department can verify that that person is who he or she is claiming to be. She stated that the biggest [benefit] of digital licensing [will be to] law enforcement, which can use the media strip to easily transmit data. MS. MARSHBURN reiterated that there is support for digital licensing from industries that sell age-restricted products. She said that ARBA (Alaska Regional Beverage Association) has passed a resolution in support of digital licensing and of raising fees to cover the cost. CHARR had a resolution before it in the previous week, the result of which had not yet come to Ms. Marshburn's attention. The Anchorage Assembly currently has a resolution before it, which she said she anticipates will pass. MS. MARSHBURN noted that there are significant benefits to the public, including greater personal security and protection against identity theft. Another benefit is that a person who loses an ID while traveling can obtain a duplicate, because the image is on file. MS. MARSHBURN said the one-time cost to the department for digital licensing is approximately $500,000. The increase to the cost of the driver's license will be $1 per year, a small price to pay for security, she said. MS. MARSHBURN talked about the details on the example licenses depicted on the handout. She reiterated that the look of the license for minors will be significantly different than that of the license for adults. MS. MARSHBURN, in response to a question by Chair Coghill, said that the bar code would most likely be used on the back of the Alaska State license. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked if there would be any type of device that could be used by those responsible for checking IDs that would allow them to run the ID through like a credit card. MS. MARSHBURN answered that there are a variety of scanners available that retail establishments can use to read that data. REPRESENTATIVE FATE asked a question regarding making [valid] changes on a digital license if it were necessary to do so. CHAIR COGHILL asked Representative Fate to restate his question, because it was brought to his attention by the committee secretary that there had been some technical difficulty and the tape was not recording. [The foregoing minutes on HB 344 were reconstructed from the log notes and Gavel to Gavel recording. At this point, the recording begins again on Tape 02-05, Side B.] Number 1917 REPRESENTATIVE FATE restated his question. He asked: If the legislature lowered the drinking age - or voting age - for example, how difficult would it be to change that on the [identification] card? For instance, would a new card have to be issued, or could the software accept the change? MS. MARSHBURN replied that the answer would depend specifically on what the change in the law was. Most likely, she said, the individual would need a new license. REPRESENTATIVE FATE clarified that he knew the card would change, but was asking if the computer program could be rewritten with the existing software to facilitate that change. MS. MARSHBURN said yes. REPRESENTATIVE FATE noted that startup costs mentioned by Ms. Marshburn were approximately $500,000, [the amount] he thought would be in [a fiscal note]. He explained that he was looking at costs if changes are made to the system, "recognizing that each card is going to have to be changed." MS. MARSHBURN said changes to the computer programming would be minimal "in terms of cost for work effort." Number 1817 CHAIR COGHILL pointed out that the $500,000 is not reflected in the fiscal note; he asked if that was because changing software was already provided for in [an existing] budget. MS. MARSHBURN said no, adding, "This is a vehicle for the revenue to cover the cost." She stated that it was her understanding that the cost could not be included in the fiscal note because revenues cannot be dedicated. She said the $500,000 for the division to do the program would have to be by budget appropriation in the budget that will come before House Finance Standing Committee this year; that would be a separate action by the legislature. CHAIR COGHILL replied that generally, however, a bill that requires increased spending requires an accompanying fiscal note. Number 1750 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES offered remarks regarding the fiscal note: I understand not being able to have dedicated funds, and that doesn't necessarily indicate dedicated funds. It says [that] you've got a change in revenues of $900,000, and you don't say where the money's coming from. Well, you say it's $105,000, which is general fund program receipts, which should be down in that part, as well. But, up top, you need to know where that money's going to go. Are we going to get another $500,000 that we can spend for anything we want? Or is there something - some extra cost - we're going to have to cover? I don't think that means that it's dedicated. Number 1705 MS. MARSHBURN indicated the fiscal note could be changed. She explained that it had been drafted to avoid to appearance of dedicated revenue. She remarked that the bill itself doesn't speak to digital licensing. Number 1693 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she thinks fiscal notes are actually funded separately, and not all of them are covered; therefore, it is important to show the costs of [HB 344] and where that money will go. MS. MARSHBURN thanked Representative James and said, "We'll do that." Number 1650 CHAIR COGHILL asked Ms. Marshburn for the projected cost of changing equipment. He asked if it would, indeed, be the $500,000. MS. MARSHBURN answered that the $500,000 is for the project development as it relates to software: writing it; providing it; integrating it to the existing systems; interfacing it with the other users; and writing the program to develop the license to the national standards, in order to facilitate the exchange of data among other user agencies in Alaska and nationally. Ms. Marshburn noted that the division has an appropriation for hardware in its capital budget. Number 1591 REPRESENTATIVE WILSON requested clarification regarding a segment of the analysis in the fiscal note that read [original punctuation provided]: This bill increases the fees for the original issue, renewal, and duplicates of driver's licenses, and ID cards by $5. The fee for instruction permits is increased by $10. The last increase in these fees was over 10 years ago. The Instruction Permit is valid for 2 years. Commercial driver's licenses including school bus permits are not included in the increase. MS. MARSHBURN replied: All of the licenses that we issue and all of the permits that we issue would be converted to digital, so everyone would benefit. We did not include the commercial driver's license because that program fee was established in '92 or '93 and is a relatively recent fee. It's $100 for the license itself and, on top of that, it's an additional $25 for the road test. ... Post-September 11th, there have been some federal law changes which will pass down an additional fee of $100 - not through the DMV, but through some extra background checks that we will have to [ensure that] these people go through, but an additional $100 that commercial drivers are going to have to pay for the additional background check, vis-à-vis recent changes in federal law. We felt that that cost - basically $200 to $225 for a commercial driver's license - was sufficient. If we look at the numbers of commercial driver's licenses in Alaska, that is a smaller percentage; the majority of our licenses are the class D licenses - what we call "regular" licenses - and so we didn't include the commercial drivers; they're carrying a pretty hefty burden already. REPRESENTATIVE WILSON said she thought that was a "good call." Number 1475 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES mentioned recent problems of people boarding planes. She said she has been advocating that people volunteer to carry an ID card that has a background check and "those kinds of things," and therefore the traveler wouldn't be patted down [in airport security]. She asked Ms. Marshburn, if that were allowed, whether it could be incorporated into the current driver's license or would mean carrying a separate one. MS. MARSHBURN said she could not give a definite answer, but said the background checks are conducted by DMV. She noted that legislation would be necessary, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would probably be the approving agency for something like that. Number 1385 CHAIR COGHILL opined that tricky questions come up with the subject of national identification. He said, "This doesn't become a national ID card, but it certainly is a national identifier." He mentioned digitizing and that privacy is becoming a bigger issue. Number 1362 REPRESENTATIVE FATE asked if the renewal dates on licenses would carry over in digital form. MS. MARSHBURN said that's correct. A person's license would be converted when it was up for renewal. Number 1346 REPRESENTATIVE HAYES asked what security measures were in place to prevent a [computer] hacker, for instance, from [forging a license]. MS. MARSHBURN answered that the state security system has a number of laws and security measures in place already. She said [DMV's] data and databases, as well as that of the state troopers, require very high security; that won't change with a digital license. Number 1288 REPRESENTATIVE HAYES pointed out that the military also has those measures, but there still are hackers capable of breaking into a system, no matter how good it is. MS. MARSHBURN agreed; however, she mentioned layers of security within the state's mainframe computer. Within the agency, she noted, the following security measures are used: patchwork, audit trails, auditing of computer use, and built-in alarms and monitors. Although not foolproof or failsafe, those measures are in place and wouldn't change with a digital system. Number 1214 MARK MEW, Deputy Chief, Anchorage Police Department, Municipality of Anchorage, testified via teleconference. He told the committee he would talk about what digital licensing would do for law enforcement, in general, but also specifically for the Anchorage Police Department. MR. MEW referred to Ms. Marshburn's testimony and said that two immediate advantages of using the new licenses would be that they are more difficult to forge and they [make it easier to] determine age; both are useful to the police department. MR. MEW explained that a benefit of digital photographs that meet the national standard would be the ability to use them for investigative purposes in a photo lineup. Police currently use photos, rather than "live" lineups. Furthermore, there is case law requiring that lineups use people with similar hairstyles and facial features, for example. The police have access to digital photograph banks, from which they can choose the best lineup of photos; however, Mr. Mew noted, [Alaska's] photos don't jibe with those from other states. Number 1014 MR. MEW brought up the subject of new technology in Anchorage, through the mobile data project, that he hopes will be operational by the summer of 2002. The project involves providing laptop [computers] in all patrol cars that communicate by radio frequency to headquarters, he explained. It facilitates writing of police reports, transmittal of data, and downloading into the police system and state system, with "very little human intervention." He mentioned criminal-history checks, automatic vehicle location checks, and real-time checks in the patrol car by the officer. MR. MEW explained the twofold use of the driver's licenses. Regarding data-entry capacity, currently officers handwrite tickets and accident reports, for example. Most information used in those reports comes right off of the driver's license. However, numbers may be transposed, and people's names may be entered in several ways. For example, someone could write the name Del Smith, while someone two days later might write Delbert Smith, and someone else could write Delbert J. Smith. That data must be cleaned up, he said, because the department does not want that person showing up in the database as three different individuals. MR. MEW explained that if that person's card were scanned each time with the same name, date of birth, and driver's license number, then the information wouldn't require correction later. These corrections create expense for the department. Worse yet, incorrect information may get passed on to the district attorney, the court, or [the Department of] Corrections, thereby creating melee in all of the systems. MR. MEW said he would like to see Ms. Marshburn's system updated to fit in with the digitization. He said the aforementioned example could be avoided by "utilizing licenses such as we're discussing now." He concluded that the advantages to [the police force] are great in terms of officer time "upfront"; quality of data; and clerical time "downstream," in terms of housekeeping in the system. Number 0742 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES, following up a previous question by Representative Hayes, asked how other people are kept from intercepting [information in] the system. MR. MEW answered that there are new Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) standards for security on any system that interfaces with the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) or any state system authorized by NCIC, which would include the Alaska Public Safety Information Network (APSIN). He offered that those standards would involve 128-bit encryption and "certain other protocols" that would make it nearly impossible to monitor and decipher. MR. MEW said [the police department] has to pass audits in order to utilize the system, whether it's by radio or hard-line. He reminded the committee that this is not top-secret, classified information; there are ways for the public to get the same information if they to go through "the right channels." Number 0618 REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD expressed fear that the country is moving toward "a national passport system." He stated that one basic tenet of [the constitution] is the right to be left alone. He voiced concern about how much information such as medical information could be put on the barcode [of a driver's license, or other type of ID card]. It could be used as a national tracking system under which people would be required to give their licenses to the checker at the grocery store or any other place they went, he warned. Number 0500 MR. MEW responded that perhaps Ms. Marshburn should address that concern, because the police wouldn't have anything to do with what information is put on the card. He added that the focus of [the police department] is to be able to utilize the same information already on the card, but in a more efficient manner. Number 0475 CHAIR COGHILL told Mr. Mew he thought he'd done a good job of explaining the benefits of a consistent, expedient system and how the upgrade of technology improves the exchange of information. He announced that his intention was not to move the bill out of committee until the fiscal note was received. He suggested further subjects for discussion regarding HB 344 may include monetary amounts and the concerns expressed. Number 0359 DEL SMITH, Deputy Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Public Safety (DPS), said he has been talking about digital licensing since he held Deputy Mew's position in 1987. He said he thinks it was then that a demonstration by DMV was held, which he attended. MR. SMITH noted that although the bill's focus is raising fees, he wouldn't be addressing that. He reiterated Mr. Mew's comments regarding law enforcement's ability to make substantial use of information that is currently, by statute, on the face of a driver's license, through the use of barcodes. He told committee members he appreciated the concern regarding some of the information that could potentially go into a card, but said his present interest is information on the face of the license that is currently required by statute. MR. SMITH indicated that although the Alaska State Troopers could see a use for "in-car terminals" in the Fairbanks, Matanuska-Susitna, and Anchorage areas in the not-too-distant future, it has no plan in place to use them throughout the state, because of the "far-flung reaches" that are patrolled. Considering the short-term applications, he said, he thinks digital licensing would be beneficial to law enforcement for many reasons, including, as Mr. Mew mentioned, interfacing on a national level. MR. SMITH noted that there is encryption for "across-the-air transmissions." He expressed certainty that standards will need to be met for NCIC 2000. He explained that NCIC is the database that one checks for "wants" or warrants nationally, or for information regarding stolen property; NCIC 2000 is "just the latest permutation," whereas he believes the original center has been in existence since sometime in the 1970s. The DPS, law enforcement, and the Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police support the move to a digital license, he said, to increase security and help determine who should be buying alcohol or cigarettes. Number 0096 MR. SMITH, in response to an earlier comment by Representative James, said he thinks the potential exists for having a card that could be put through a scanner at an airport security checkpoint for those who voluntarily have provided the information; it could involve a photo ID and verification of who it is. He recalled hearing on the news of a plan to allow frequent travelers to go through a special line; however, he pointed out, that causes concern [by other travelers] when some people go through a shorter line. Number 0020 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES, reevaluating her previous concerns about the fiscal note, indicated the current fiscal note probably is correct because "nothing in this piece of legislation ... authorizes them to go do anything; actually, it just raises the rate." TAPE 02-06, SIDE A Number 0026 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES remarked that the comment regarding encryption did not make her feel "100 percent comfortable" because, as Representative Hayes stated, there are people [capable of hacking into a system]. She stated the necessity of moving forward and becoming smarter than those people. Number 0068 MR. SMITH noted that when he first began work involving driver's licenses in 1968, they were made of paper and partially filled out by hand. He said the current driver's license is still easy to change; therefore, using a secure, digitally produced [license] makes sense. He mentioned people's concerns and the resulting removal by the legislature of the social security number. Number 0142 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES conveyed her concern that [the barcode] should only provide the information that is on the face of [the license]. MS. MARSHBURN confirmed that the only information in the barcode would be that which is on the face of the license. CHAIR COGHILL expressed shock at discovering the amount of information a person can find on the Internet about other people. Number 0235 REPRESENTATIVE WILSON asked, with this new digital system, what the implications are with regard to FBI requirements and security as it interfaces with passports and international travel, for instance. Number 0286 MR. SMITH answered: Technology is mind-boggling to me and changes every day. I believe it potentially can be done by linking them. Right now, I would assume that Deputy Chief Mew's officers have an in-car terminal they can swipe, that they can inquire against the Alaska Public Safety Information Network to determine if there's any "wants" or warrants or "locates" out for an individual. It also would, presumably, determine whether or not there are any national "wants" or warrants for the individual. It depends upon the linkages that NCIC does, then, out to other agencies about whether or not you would want to check passport status, citizenry status - those kinds of things. There certainly is a lot of potential to gather a lot of information about an individual fairly quickly, which, I believe was Representative Crawford's concern. It is out there, but electronically it is able to be consolidated, which I think is a concern to most people. But I think, technologically, what you're asking: yes, it could be done, the same as swiping it at the airport, I assume, if you did one against the national databases. Number 0380 CHAIR COGHILL acknowledged this subject of concern, but returned attention to the focus of the bill, to raise the fees. The policy call, he said, would be whether [the committee] would vote to waive the fees; he also mentioned the connection with the fiscal note. He asked Ms. Marshburn if she wanted to make any last comments. MS. MARSHBURN deferred to Mr. Mew to address concern expressed about the transmission of data. Number 0524 MR. MEW reminded members that the data under discussion is currently going out over radio for everyone to hear; names, driver's license numbers, and identifying features are radioed back and forth between any officer conducting a records check and the dispatcher. Switching to digital [licensing] will make this nearly impossible to monitor, he noted. CHAIR COGHILL said he appreciated that. He announced that HB 344 would be held over.