Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106

03/16/2006 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearing: TELECONFERENCED
State Commission for Human Rights
<Hearing Postponed to 3/21/06>
Heard & Held
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
HB 290-REQUIREMENTS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE/I.D.                                                                                 
8:14:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON announced  that  the first  order  of business  was                                                               
HOUSE   BILL  NO.   290,  "An   Act  relating   to  issuance   of                                                               
identification cards and to issuance of driver's licenses."                                                                     
8:14:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  moved  to   adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB 290,  Version  24-LS0981\Y,  Luckhaupt,                                                               
2/2/06, as a work draft.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG objected.   He said he  would first like                                                               
to hear an outline of the changes made in Version Y.                                                                            
8:17:29 AM                                                                                                                    
NANCY  MANLY,  Staff to  Representative  Bob  Lynn, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,   on  behalf   of   Representative  Lynn,   sponsor,                                                               
suggested that  the director of  the Division of  Motor Vehicles,                                                               
Duane Bannock, would best be able to review the changes.                                                                        
8:17:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG reviewed the changes himself.                                                                          
8:18:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON asked  Mr. Bannock if there are  any further changes                                                               
that would be brought about through Version Y.                                                                                  
8:18:55 AM                                                                                                                    
DUANE  BANNOCK,  Director,  Division  of  Motor  Vehicles  (DMV),                                                               
Department  of  Administration,   said  Representative  Gruenberg                                                               
covered all the changes in his review of Version Y.                                                                             
8:19:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  removed his objection.   There being no                                                               
further objection, Version Y was before the committee.                                                                          
8:19:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN, as  sponsor of HB 290, noted  that a similar                                                               
bill was before the legislature  during its previous session, and                                                               
many of the  concerns raised at that time are  still valid today.                                                               
He said  the bill would  require that anyone obtaining  an Alaska                                                               
driver's  license   have  a  legal  presence   in  Alaska,  which                                                               
coincides   with   having   a   legal  presence   in   the   U.S.                                                               
Representative Lynn  stated that President George  W. Bush signed                                                               
into  law the  Real ID  Act on  May 11,  2005, the  provisions of                                                               
which  improve  the  security  of  state  driver's  licenses  and                                                               
identification (ID)  cards, which Representative Lynn  posited is                                                               
a good idea.   The proposed legislation, he said,  is designed to                                                               
bring Alaska into  compliance with "two major  components" of the                                                               
Real ID  Act.   Applicants with a  time-limited legal  status may                                                               
not receive a driver's license or  ID card that has an expiration                                                               
date later  than the length of  their allowable time in  the U.S.                                                               
If  the applicant's  paperwork permits  an  indefinite length  of                                                               
stay, he said,  then the expiration date of the  license would be                                                               
one year  from the  date of issue.   Representative  Lynn relayed                                                               
that the federal government has given  Alaska the date of May 11,                                                               
2008, to  come into compliance  with the  Act, but he  stated his                                                               
belief that the  seriousness of the issue  deserves action before                                                               
that time.                                                                                                                      
8:21:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  asked what  the consequence would  be for                                                               
states that don't comply by the set date.                                                                                       
8:22:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN said he doesn't know.                                                                                       
8:22:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  asked if  the Division of  Motor Vehicles                                                               
has  access to  the  appropriate documents  to determine  whether                                                               
someone  issued a  driver's  license  who is  not  a citizen  has                                                               
reached the limit  on the length of time he/she  is allowed to be                                                               
in the state.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN said  he believes the division  has access to                                                               
that information.                                                                                                               
8:22:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON noted  that there  is no  fiscal note  in the  bill                                                               
packet.   He indicated  that there would  be a  legal requirement                                                               
that the  Division of  Motor Vehicles  determine the  validity of                                                               
documentary evidence,  and he questioned  what type  of liability                                                               
would  be placed  on  the DMV  employees if  they  "do not  catch                                                               
documents that would not be legal."                                                                                             
8:24:03 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANNOCK  expressed pleasure  in being  involved with  HB 290.                                                               
He  described  the   legislation  as  "a  part   of  coming  into                                                               
compliance with  the federal  Real ID Act."   However,  he stated                                                               
that not all  of the details of the Act  have been completed; the                                                               
federal  rule-making committee  is currently  meeting to  develop                                                               
"all of  the minutia  of this  Act."   Alaska has  identified two                                                               
major  components  that  are  out of  compliance,  which  HB  290                                                               
addresses.   Mr. Bannock told  the committee members  that during                                                               
his testimony,  he may use  the term "driver's license"  and mean                                                               
both driver's license and state issued identification cards.                                                                    
MR.  BANNOCK  said the  first  part  of  the bill  addresses  the                                                               
issuance of a driver's license  and the requirement that a person                                                               
receiving such  a card must  either be a  citizen of the  U.S. or                                                               
have documentation  showing he/she is  in the U.S. legally.   The                                                               
second part  of the bill  addresses the  group of people  who are                                                               
not U.S.  citizens but are  here legally.   A common  example, he                                                               
said, is that  of foreign exchange students who are  in the state                                                               
on a  student visa.  The  bill would allow the  DMV the authority                                                               
to shorten the length of [the  validity of] a driver's license to                                                               
coincide  with the  expiration of  the documents  that allow  the                                                               
exchange student to remain in the country legally.                                                                              
8:27:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BANNOCK, regarding  Representative Gardner's  question about                                                               
compliance, said if Alaska is not  in compliance with the Real ID                                                               
Act  in   time,  the  division   will  be  required  to   mark  a                                                               
nonconforming  driver's license.   As  such, that  identification                                                               
cannot  be used  to access  a federal  building and  will not  be                                                               
recognized   as  valid   identification  by   the  Transportation                                                               
Security  Administration.    By  May 2008,  a  person  without  a                                                               
government  issued ID  that meets  the federal  requirements will                                                               
not be allowed to board an airplane.                                                                                            
MR.  BANNOCK said  when Governor  Mike Huckabee  stated that  the                                                               
Real ID  Act puts  the Division of  Motor Vehicles'  employees on                                                               
the frontline  of national defense,  he meant that as  an insult.                                                               
Mr. Bannock relayed that when he  says the same thing he means it                                                               
as a compliment.   Regarding Chair Seaton's  questions related to                                                               
liability, he  indicated that he  does not know  what liabilities                                                               
his  employees may  incur.   Notwithstanding that,  he emphasized                                                               
how seriously  he takes the issue.   He reported that  his number                                                               
one  manager of  driver's licensing  is a  member on  one of  the                                                               
subcommittees of the federal rule-making  committee.  He said her                                                               
work involves foreign  documents and "the second  group of people                                                               
... that we're talking about."                                                                                                  
MR. BANNOCK,  regarding the technological advances  being made in                                                               
order  to  comply with  both  the  projected  state law  and  the                                                               
implementation  of the  Real  ID  Act, stated  that  in his  2007                                                               
capital budget  he has  requested small  desktop scanners  to get                                                               
electronic copies of everyone's  birth certificates.  Mr. Bannock                                                               
talked about a  grant given to the division to  "connect with the                                                               
social  security  division"  through   a  program  called  Social                                                               
Security  On  Line Verification  (SSOLV).    The program  detects                                                               
mistakes  and fraud  related  to social  security  numbers.   Mr.                                                               
Bannock  stated  that as  soon  as  the division  has  completely                                                               
implemented  the  SSOLV campaign,  it  will  move into  the  next                                                               
electronic  verification, called,  Systematic Alien  Verification                                                               
(SAV),  which will  allow the  division to  electronically verify                                                               
the validity of foreign passports.   He predicted that technology                                                               
would be incorporated by the DMV by 2008.                                                                                       
8:32:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BANNOCK, in  response to  a request  for clarification  from                                                               
Chair  Seaton, stated  his belief  that  the State  of Alaska  is                                                               
ultimately [liable]  for anything his  DMV employees do  or don't                                                               
do.    He  offered  an  example  of  the  benefit  of  using  the                                                               
verification and storage process previously described.                                                                          
CHAIR SEATON asked if Mr.  Bannock would say that the requirement                                                               
that the documents  be valid will be covered by  making a copy of                                                               
the documents and keeping them in the DMV's records.                                                                            
MR. BANNOCK answered, "That is one part of it, sir, yes, sir."                                                                  
8:33:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  mentioned that there is  something called                                                               
a  Metricula  Consular  card,  which  is  a  type  of  fraudulent                                                               
government ID card.  She asked Mr.  Bannock if he is aware of any                                                               
other fraudulent card that should be included in the bill.                                                                      
MR.  BANNOCK answered  no.   He  stated, "I'm  not  aware of  any                                                               
nearly-as-broad  documents that  have been  [widely] accepted  by                                                               
other organizations."   In response to a  follow-up question from                                                               
Representative  Gardner, he  confirmed that  he is  familiar with                                                               
the Metricula Consular card.                                                                                                    
8:34:47 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked, "If  the purpose  of this  is to                                                               
deter terrorism,  and you have  an illegal alien, and  they can't                                                               
get on the plane without a valid  ID, how are they going to leave                                                               
the country?"                                                                                                                   
MR. BANNOCK  deferred response to  that question to "the  Real ID                                                               
[Act] people."                                                                                                                  
8:35:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON, regarding  Mr. Bannock's  aforementioned statement                                                               
that those  involved with the  Real ID Act are  currently meeting                                                               
to discuss  the requirements of the  Act, asked, "Do we  have any                                                               
indication of  what other  portions might  be required  under the                                                               
issuance of these ID cards?"                                                                                                    
8:35:38 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANNOCK answered  yes.  He indicated that some  of the issues                                                               
being decided have to do  with standardizations and layout of the                                                               
items listed  on driver's  licenses and  IDs.   In response  to a                                                               
follow-up question  from Chair Seaton  asking if  those decisions                                                               
will  be  made  necessary  through  statute  or  regulation,  Mr.                                                               
Bannock said  they will be  carried out through "some  policy and                                                               
regulation."    He  stated,  "Right  now  we  know  of  no  other                                                               
[statutorily] required changes other than what is before you."                                                                  
8:36:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked if  there  have  been any  court                                                               
challenges  at   the  state  or   federal  level   regarding  the                                                               
constitutionality  of an  illegal  alien being  unable  to get  a                                                               
driver's license.                                                                                                               
8:37:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANNOCK answered that he is unaware of any such cases.                                                                      
8:38:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG explained  his  concern  is that  there                                                               
have been challenges  that state that children  of illegal aliens                                                               
cannot get  an education.   He  said he  thinks those  cases were                                                               
struck  down on  the grounds  of  equal protection.   Barring  an                                                               
illegal  alien  from  getting  a driver's  license  that  may  be                                                               
essential to his/her getting to a  doctor, a school, or a job may                                                               
be a denial of equal protection.                                                                                                
8:38:34 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANNOCK  replied that he  cannot recall  such a lawsuit.   He                                                               
noted that the federal Real ID  Act does allow for an option that                                                               
HB 290  does not take into  consideration, and one which  he said                                                               
he would do his best to  discourage:  the availability of a state                                                               
to issue  a driver's  license or  ID that  has not  undergone the                                                               
same  scrutiny   as  described  previously.     He   offered  his                                                               
understanding that the  states of Utah and Virginia  offer such a                                                               
license,  but  do  not  allow  it   to  be  used  as  a  form  of                                                               
identification.  He said he  knows of other states considering "a                                                               
second  tier of  driver  licensing," but  he  emphasized that  he                                                               
thinks that's poor public policy.                                                                                               
8:40:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG offered  his understanding  that it  is                                                               
actually the states of Utah  and Tennessee that offer the special                                                               
driver's license,  and the state  of Virginia is  considering the                                                               
option.  He continued:                                                                                                          
     As I  understand the basic  concept of these  laws, ...                                                                    
     if you are an illegal alien  you can get a license, but                                                                    
     it  will indicate  on there  clearly that  this doesn't                                                                    
     meet the requirement of federal  law, you're an illegal                                                                    
     alien, or  something like that.   Isn't that  the basic                                                                    
8:41:06 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANNOCK replied that that is an accurate statement.                                                                         
8:41:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON said  California has been wresting  with the problem                                                               
of whether it  is better to have [illegal aliens]  take a driving                                                               
test to ensure  they can read signs and drive  safely, or whether                                                               
it is better  to not have them come through  the driver's license                                                               
system.    He  said,  of  course, if  those  illegal  aliens  are                                                               
conducting  normal,  everyday  business,   that  means  they  are                                                               
currently driving without  any license.  He asked  Mr. Bannock if                                                               
Alaska has experienced that problem.                                                                                            
8:42:11 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANNOCK answered  that there are no documented  cases of such                                                               
a problem.  He continued:                                                                                                       
     The reason  for my  ability to  make that  statement is                                                                    
     that by regulation today - not  by statute - ... we are                                                                    
     governed by what document we may  or may not take.  And                                                                    
     those documents are only [emphasis  on the word "only"]                                                                    
     documents  that  would  be in  the  possession  of  ...                                                                    
     person  "A" -  the United  States citizen,  [or] person                                                                    
     "B" - a person here legally.                                                                                               
8:42:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON recalled  that  during a  previous  hearing of  the                                                               
bill,  there had  been discussion  about people  needing to  come                                                               
from villages  to renew  their licenses.   He stated,  "And under                                                               
this bill, you  wouldn't be able to issue a  renewal without that                                                               
documentation, is that correct?"                                                                                                
MR. BANNOCK answered in the affirmative.                                                                                        
8:43:10 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER asked  if it is accurate to say  that if a                                                               
person does not  have a driver's license, he/she  cannot get auto                                                               
MR. BANNOCK  answered that  that is  conventional wisdom,  but he                                                               
said  he  doesn't  want  to  speak on  behalf  of  the  insurance                                                               
8:43:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  pointed out that a  person doesn't have                                                               
to  have a  driver's license  to  purchase auto  insurance.   For                                                               
example, a  person may  own a  car, but have  a chauffeur  do the                                                               
8:44:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANNOCK,  in response to  a remark  by Chair Seaton,  said he                                                               
would bring the committee a fiscal note.                                                                                        
8:44:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG told  Mr. Bannock that he  would like to                                                               
see the  fiscal note broken down  into component parts.   He said                                                               
he  would also  like to  know any  potential for  federal funding                                                               
related to the Real ID Act and how long those funds would last.                                                                 
8:45:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANNOCK  said the  fiscal note  will be  $20,000.   He stated                                                               
that although the  fiscal note will show that there  may be other                                                               
costs resulting  from the Real ID  Act, it will only  be specific                                                               
to the programming changes related to HB 290.                                                                                   
CHAIR SEATON  asked, "And  it won't  involve the  training that's                                                               
going to be required to ... ensure validity on the document?"                                                                   
MR. BANNOCK answered that's correct.                                                                                            
CHAIR  SEATON asked  Mr. Bannock  to show  that exception  in the                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
8:46:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said he would like  to know "everything                                                               
you know  that's going  to be involved  in the  implementation of                                                               
this Act so we can really look at this systemically."                                                                           
8:46:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked if there is a specific action that a                                                                 
DMV employee takes if he/she receives an application that looks                                                                 
like it has been forged.                                                                                                        
MR. BANNOCK answered yes.                                                                                                       
8:47:11 AM                                                                                                                    
MATTHEW KERR testified on behalf of himself in opposition to HB
290.  His written testimony read as follows [original                                                                           
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     My  name is  Matthew Kerr  and  I am  a small  business                                                                    
     owner  from Anchorage  here  representing myself.  With                                                                    
     all due  respect to Representative  Lynn, I am  here to                                                                    
     state  my  strong opposition  to  HB  290, which  would                                                                    
     require  more   paperwork  and  bureaucracy   to  issue                                                                    
     driver's licenses in Alaska.                                                                                               
     This  bill has  no benefit  to our  Great State  or its                                                                    
     residents.   It's the worst  of government for  its own                                                                    
     sake.  This  adds a  useless  paperwork  burden to  our                                                                    
     residents,  our   foreign  guests,   and  our   DMV.  I                                                                    
     shouldn't need  to remind you  that the  terrorists had                                                                    
     perfectly  valid foreign  passports and  US visas  when                                                                    
     they boarded the airplanes. This  bill does not provide                                                                    
     one single benefit  to the residents of  this state for                                                                    
     all the money it would cost.                                                                                               
     The first  obvious problem with  this bill is  the cost                                                                    
     and difficulty  involved in training our  DMV agents to                                                                    
     be immigration officers. If someone  has an expired F-1                                                                    
     student  visa,  an I-94  entry  form  marked valid  for                                                                    
     "Duration of Status" instead of  a particular end date,                                                                    
     and an I-20 form  indicating current enrollment at UAA,                                                                    
     could you  tell me if  they are legally entitled  to be                                                                    
     here, and for how long?  What about someone who renewed                                                                    
     their  passport while  in  the US,  and  no longer  has                                                                    
     their  original  visa?  Under  the  proposed  rules,  a                                                                    
     friend of mine  would have needed to return  to the DMV                                                                    
     four  times  in the  past  five  years to  renew  their                                                                    
     license  each   time.  Immigration  paperwork   can  be                                                                    
     extremely complex,  and we  shouldn't be  wasting money                                                                    
     to  train  our  DMV  agents  on  the  finer  points  of                                                                    
     immigration law.                                                                                                           
     Second,  a  driver's  license  or  identification  card                                                                    
     should  be exactly  that. A  person's ability  to drive                                                                    
     legally has no logical  connection to their immigration                                                                    
     status. If  I was a  foreign visitor, I would  skip the                                                                    
     trouble, ignore  the law, and  just continue to  use my                                                                    
     foreign  license  for  the  full  length  of  my  stay,                                                                    
     instead of  obtaining an Alaska license  after 90 days.                                                                    
     This means that  we actually lose the  ability to fully                                                                    
     maintain  that person's  driving  record.  In terms  of                                                                    
     identification, foreign passports  are accepted just as                                                                    
     widely as a state ID card.                                                                                                 
     The only  argument I have  heard in favor of  this bill                                                                    
     is  that our  Alaska  ID cards  would  possibly not  be                                                                    
     enough  to  board an  airplane.  I  don't believe  that                                                                    
     aviation  in Alaska  would suddenly  cease to  function                                                                    
     because  of   our  driver's  licenses.  We   should  be                                                                    
     fighting this  kind of federal  mandate; not  giving in                                                                    
     to  it. Last  Tuesday,  New Hampshire  passed NH  House                                                                    
     Bill  1582  specifically  prohibiting  their  DMV  from                                                                    
     implementing  these rules,  calling them  "repugnant to                                                                    
     Amendments   4  through   10  of   the  United   States                                                                    
     Constitution." I agree with that assertion.                                                                                
     However,  the  strongest  argument  against  this  bill                                                                    
     cannot   be  quantified   in   financial  figures   and                                                                    
     statistics. People that live  here strongly value their                                                                    
     privacy, and no  Alaskan residents I know  are in favor                                                                    
     of this bill or increasing  the level of bureaucracy at                                                                    
     our DMV. This is  a slight but unnecessary encroachment                                                                    
     on my privacy  and yours. I don't want to  be asked for                                                                    
     more papers when I go  to renew my license. The current                                                                    
     system  isn't broken.  Nobody wants  this bill,  and it                                                                    
     has  no benefits  for us.  It  honestly disappoints  me                                                                    
     that a  state that rightly  prides itself so  highly on                                                                    
     personal   rights   could    attempt   to   pass   this                                                                    
     Thank you  for listening  to my testimony.  Please vote                                                                    
     against this legislation.                                                                                                  
8:50:48 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KERR, in  response to  questions from  Representative Gatto,                                                               
described  the documentation  he  had to  present  to obtain  his                                                               
student  identification  card.    He   said  the  first  time  he                                                               
registered was  in 1992, and he  does not recall being  asked for                                                               
his driver's license.   He agreed that it is  conceivable that he                                                               
could have  registered without proving  he was whom he  said, but                                                               
that the university's regulations could have changed since 1992.                                                                
8:52:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked  for a copy of  Mr. Kerr's written                                                               
8:52:21 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. KERR,  in response to  a question from  Representative Gatto,                                                               
confirmed that  he is testifying  on behalf of  himself; however,                                                               
he  said  he  travels  internationally frequently  and  has  many                                                               
friends  in Alaska  and  outside the  state.   In  response to  a                                                               
follow-up question  from Representative Gatto, he  listed some of                                                               
the  reasons  that spurred  him  to  testify, including  the  DMV                                                               
requirement to maintain a copy  of a scanned birth certificate in                                                               
a  database.   He  said  he is  a  database  programmer, and  the                                                               
thought of that information being  there scares him a little bit.                                                               
He said one  of the requirements of  the Real ID Act  is that all                                                               
50  states  have  direct  electronic  access  to  the  state  DMV                                                               
records.  Mr.  Kerr said he can easily imagine  a disgruntled DMV                                                               
employee somewhere  in Southern California getting  ready to quit                                                               
and deciding  to do "a dump  of the Alaska records  and sell them                                                               
on  the  Internet."   He  said  he is  sure  the  state has  good                                                               
security, but  no system is  perfect.  The more  information that                                                               
is out there,  the more tempting a target the  system becomes, he                                                               
8:53:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN said even though  he disagrees with Mr. Kerr,                                                               
he thinks it is helpful to hear both sides of the issue.                                                                        
8:54:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON asked Mr. Bannock if  people will have to submit the                                                               
aforementioned documents upon renewing a driver's license.                                                                      
MR. BANNOCK indicated that Version  Y would require documentation                                                               
for renewals.   He said, "We are attempting to  develop a program                                                               
right now  that if we  can verify with  the data that  we already                                                               
have, when Representative  Paul Seaton shows up at  his Homer DMV                                                               
to renew  his driver's  license, he  will not  be required  to do                                                               
that.   That  is  one  of the  yet  unanswered  questions of  the                                                               
application by 2008."                                                                                                           
8:55:56 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON announced that HB 290 was heard and held.                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects