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Proposed bill would give Idahoans access to an electronic driver’s license

Alex Lemoing,
IDAHO FALLS – A prospective bill would give Idahoans the option of having an electronic driver’s license.
Rep. Stephanie Mickelsen, R-Idaho Falls, is hoping to introduce the bill during the 2024 Legislative session. She explains how it would work in a conversation with
“If people went to places that needed an ID, they could pull out their phone and use a Google wallet or something,” she says. “When you have a physical copy of something, it could be lost and it isn’t as easy for your ID to be stolen if it was on your phone that’s password protected.”
It’s something she says would be optional where people could choose to opt in or out. It would not make electronic driver’s licenses mandatory.
Mickelsen’s main motivation behind the bill is convenience.
“I like to make people’s lives easier, so that’s where I’m coming from,” she says.
Mickelsen is collaborating with the Idaho Transportation Department to draft the legislation.
ITD spokeswoman Ellen Mattila says digital driver’s licenses have been on the radar for the last several years. At least 10 states have implemented similar legislation, including Utah, Colorado and Arizona.
Though Mattila isn’t sure how many people have opted in to digital driver’s licenses in other states, she says one thing that’s made it work is the ability to show your photo ID and date of birth without revealing your home address.
“It gets added to a mobile wallet the same way you can add your credit card information or concert tickets to a Google or Apple wallet,” Mattila explains.
If something like this was an option in Idaho, Mattila would want to be sure it was “secure, trustworthy and that people felt comfortable using it.” Layers of data protection would have to be in place in order for it to be a viable option, she says.
“It’s also important that it’s user-friendly. We don’t want to make a product that people have difficulty accessing or using. Part of making it optional would mean those who are more tech-savvy could be the early adopters and try it out (before others got on board),” Mattila says.
She’s interested to see how the bill is received in the Legislature.
Mickelsen is hoping to attract interest from other legislators to co-sponsor the bill.
One of Mickelsen’s committee assignments is with Environment, Energy & Technology, which is where it would likely be introduced. The committee’s page can be accessed here.
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