Drivers license fees would go up under digital ID bill

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- A bill to increase the fee on drivers licenses by $5 to pay for a more secure digital photo ID system passed a House committee Tuesday.

Fees for drivers licenses and identification cards would increase to $20 on July, 1, under the bill approved by the House Finance Committee. Fees for learners permits would increase from $5 to $15.

House Bill 344 is sponsored by the House Rules Committee at the request of the state Division of Motor Vehicles.

It would allow the state to issue new drivers licenses using digital information on the cards.

Drivers licenses would be made more difficult to forge and provide added information to police, the division said.

The system would create licenses with a number of security features, including machine-readable bar codes that contain the address, birthdate and other information that is on the face of the license.

Law enforcement could use the system to further identify people, and the new cards could provide a basis to keep underaged people out of bars, said George Gaguzis, administrative manager for the Division of Motor Vehicles.

The digital photo information would be stored on a computer server, which law enforcement agencies could access, Gaguzis said.

The agency estimates one-time costs for software and related work at about $500,000. The increase would generate between $750,000 and $900,000 to pay for a digitized photo system for drivers license facilities.

Reps Con Bunde, R-Anchorage; Jim Whitaker, R-Fairbanks; John Harris, R-Valdez; John Davies, D-Fairbanks; Ken Lancaster, R-Soldotna; Eldon Mulder, R-Anchorage and Bill Williams, R-Saxman all recommended the measure pass.

The bill now goes to the House Rules Committee before being sent to the full House.

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