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Electronic driver's license bill passes committee vote

1 year 5 months 3 weeks ago Monday, April 25 2016 Apr 25, 2016 April 25, 2016 1:33 PM April 25, 2016 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A bill to create an electronic Louisiana driver’s license passed the House Transportation Committee Monday.

If it becomes law, the Office of Motor Vehicles would create a smartphone app that a driver could use to present a valid electronic driver’s license to law enforcement or to other state and local government agencies.

As the bill stands now, a driver could choose to obtain only the electronic license and not the physical license. The renewal cost of the electronic license would be $3-$5, much lower than the renewal cost of a physical license, according to the bill's sponsor Rep. Ted James (D-Baton Rouge) . Also the creation and implementation of the app would be at no cost to the state.

The bill does not force private vendors or other entities to recognize the electronic license as an acceptable form of identification. So if a person went to a store to buy alcohol or tobacco, it’s up to business if it would accept the electronic license.

The same is true for airports which may not accept the electronic version and require a physical license instead. Also, law enforcement in other states may not accept the electronic version. For these reasons, James encourages people to get both the physical and the electronic licenses. 

The electronic license would be Real ID compliant. 

A photo of a physical license on a driver’s phone would not be acceptable. 

If the bill becomes law, Louisiana would be the first state to allow for electronic licenses, according to James. A handful of other states are currently doing pilot programs. James believes electronic licenses across the country will eventually become the new standard. Many states including Louisiana already allow for electronic proof of insurance.

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