Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Delegate Mike Mullin Introduces House Bill for Electronic DMV Credentials

Del. Mike Mullin (D-93) (WYDaily/Ben Mackin)

RICHMOND — House Delegate Mike Mullin (D-93) is proposing a House Bill (HB) that would allow individuals to have their driver’s licenses on their mobile devices by July 1, 2023.

The House Bill, HB 506, would require the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue “electronic credentials” and to create and operate a “verification system” for such credentials.

“I come from a family of people who keep way too much stuff in their wallets and so any idea to sort of remove things from a wallet is probably a good thing,” said Del. Mullin in an interview with WYDaily. “What this bill does is it speeds along the Department from Virginia’s DMV’s normal approval process for being able to create a secure digital wallet service; to be able to substitute for your identification card, your driver’s license, or your commercial driver’s license. This bill, which is handled with the conjunction of VDOT, as well as a number of other stakeholders, would move us in that process.”

The current law authorizes the DMV to issue such credentials and operate a verification system but it is not required. HB 506 would amend the current law to make this a requirement.

“What you have on your iPhone is probably a lot more safe and secure than what you’ll ever have in your wallet. You can’t make a photocopy of an iPhone in the same way,” said Mullin. “So my expectation, and hope, is that Virginia will be able to be fully digital by the end of this year.”

The amended law does not mean that physical credentials will go away anytime soon.

According to HB 506, “When the Department issues electronic credentials, the credentials shall be issued in addition to, and not instead of, the underlying physical credentials for which a person is eligible. No electronic credential shall be issued unless the applicant holds the corresponding physical credential. Such electronic credentials shall be issued to an electronic credential system.”

However, digital driver’s licenses would provide the same benefits and permissions as physical driver’s licenses. For example, individuals would be able to use electronic credentials to board flights, as well as purchase alcohol and tobacco products.

“It can be used from anything from getting into Paul’s Deli, to going through a TSA checkpoint at the airport securely, quickly, and without as much paperwork,” said Mullin. “It would be able to digitally get you into military facilities, airports, and anywhere that you need an ID.”

Electronic credentials have been tested and launched in other states including Arizona, Louisiana, and Colorado.

These electronic licenses would provide individuals with the ability for people to update their license information remotely without having to go to a DMV office or waiting for a new card to arrive in the mail. For ease, it would be available on most common mobile wallet apps.

HB 506 is scheduled to be in front of the House Transportation Sub-Committee #1 Department of Motor Vehicles on Feb. 1, 2022, at 8 a.m.

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