, Land Line state legislative editor | Monday, August 11, 2014
A bill on the move at the Ohio statehouse would simplify border crossings for truckers and others.
The House Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee approved a bill that would make available enhanced commercial and personal driver’s licenses and identification cards.
Enhanced licenses and ID cards are issued by states to provide proof of identity and citizenship. An alternative to traveling with a passport, the federally approved identification is available for people crossing borders between the U.S., Canada, Mexico or Caribbean.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the top 39 land ports of entry, which process more than 95 percent of land border crossings, are equipped with radio frequency identification technology to expedite travel for someone who provides an enhanced driver’s license or other RFID-enabled documents.
The states of Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington already offer enhanced driver’s licenses. The Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec also make the licenses available.
The Ohio version would cost an additional $25 fee.
Ohio state Rep. Rex Damschroder, R-Fremont, said the licensing option would provide travelers with a “common-sense and cost effective method” for land or sea travel.
Critics say criminals could access personal information transmitted by the license. Some civil liberties advocates say they are concerned that the government could use the technology to track citizens.
HB346 awaits further consideration on the House floor. If approved there, it would move to the Senate.
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