Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/13/2001 10:02 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
     SENATE BILL NO. 102                                                                                                        
     "An Act relating to the information required in an application                                                             
     for, and to display of social security numbers on, certain                                                                 
     licenses and instructional permits; and providing for an                                                                   
     effective date."                                                                                                           
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
SENATOR THERRIAULT,  sponsor, testified to this Senate  version of a                                                            
bill  introduced   by  Representative  John  Coghill,   Jr.  Senator                                                            
Therriault  stated that both bills  propose to protect the  printing                                                            
of social security  numbers (SSN)  on drivers' licenses.  He assured                                                            
that  the SSN  would  still  be required  on  the  applications  for                                                            
licenses, but would no  longer appear on the licenses themselves. He                                                            
shared that current  regulation stipulates that an  individual could                                                            
request the omission  of the SSN, but emphasized that  most Alaskans                                                            
are unaware  of this  option. He  expressed that  he would like  the                                                            
suppression of the SSN to be a default.                                                                                         
Senator Therriault  continued that this legislation  also inserts in                                                            
statute,  a   current  regulatory   policy  providing  that   if  an                                                            
individual  does  not  have  a  SSN,  the  license  applicant  could                                                            
complete a sworn affidavit  indicating that fact. He noted that past                                                            
regulations prohibited  the issuance of a driver's  license to those                                                            
individuals  who do not have  a SSN, but  stated that this  practice                                                            
has stopped.                                                                                                                    
SFC 01 # 36, Side B 10:56 AM                                                                                                    
Senator Therriault  relayed a story of a person who  lost his wallet                                                            
and experienced  credit problems that arose from another  person who                                                            
assumed his  identity after  obtaining his  SSN from his  commercial                                                            
driver's  license  and  then  using  that  information   to  receive                                                            
Senator  Therriault   commented  that  when  this  legislation   was                                                            
originally  drafted,  he thought  that  the  appearance  of SSNs  on                                                            
commercial  drivers' licenses  was a federal  requirement.  He since                                                            
learned  that the federal  government  does not  require this.  As a                                                            
result,  he prepared  an amendment  that  would expand  the bill  to                                                            
include all types of drivers' licenses.                                                                                         
Senator  Therriault  spoke to  the use  of SSNs  and the  heightened                                                            
sensitivity  of  printing  them  on drivers'  licenses  due  to  the                                                            
technological advances  in the "modern computer age." He opined that                                                            
ten  years   ago,  it   was  difficult  to   track  information   on                                                            
individuals.  However, he  stressed, the  Internet, modern  database                                                            
and  search   technology,   has  increased   the  vulnerability   of                                                            
individuals if their SSN "falls into the wrong hands."                                                                          
Senator Green stated that  she "very much approved of this" and that                                                            
she hoped to  become a co-sponsor  of the legislation. However,  she                                                            
requested  the sponsor  review the  history behind  the Division  of                                                            
Motor Vehicles requiring  SSNs. She remembered being told, "never to                                                            
give that number to anyone,"  which she said evolved to the practice                                                            
of allowing the state to request SSNs "for anything."                                                                           
Senator  Therriault  understood   that  the  change  was  a  federal                                                            
mandate,  citing that  "money comes  with strings  attached" as  the                                                            
reason behind  the state's involvement. He gave commercial  drivers'                                                            
licenses  as  an example  of  a license  issued  by the  state,  but                                                            
possibly  used for  driving in  other states.  He  said the  federal                                                            
government  needed  a method  of tracking  individuals  for  vehicle                                                            
citations, whichever state the citation was issued.                                                                             
Senator Green  clarified that Alaska  did not initiate the  practice                                                            
of including SSNs on drivers' licenses.                                                                                         
Senator Therriault affirmed.                                                                                                    
Amendment #1:  This amendment inserts a new bill section  on page 2,                                                            
following line  20 of the committee  substitute to read as  follows.                                                            
     Sec. 3. AS 28.33.100(b) is amended to read:                                                                                
          (b) In addition to the information required under AS                                                                  
     28.15.111,   a  commercial  driver's   license  shall   include                                                            
     information  determined   by the  United  States  Secretary  of                                                            
     Transportation  to be appropriate  to identify the licensee  [,                                                            
     INCLUDING THE LICENSEE'S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.]                                                                          
     [DELETED TEXT BRACKETED]                                                                                                   
Senator  Wilken referred  to the  bill sponsor's  testimony on  this                                                            
matter and moved for adoption.                                                                                                  
Without objection, the amendment was ADOPTED.                                                                                   
Co-Chair Donley  offered a motion to report SB 102,  22-LS0556\C, as                                                            
amended from Committee  with accompanying zero fiscal  note from the                                                            
Department  of Administration,   Motor Vehicles  BRU.  There was  no                                                            
objection that the bill MOVED from Committee.                                                                                   

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