On Febraury 28th, the Michgian Legislature passed bills (Senate Bill 966, introduced by Cameron Brown [R-Sturgis] and House Bills 5535 and 5536 introduced by Steve Tobocman [D-Detroit] and Ed Clemente [DINO-Lincoln Park], repectively) that would put Secretary of State Terry Lynn Land’s Enhanced Driver’s License Program into practice.
Here’s what the program outlines:
- Create the Enhanced Driver License and Enhanced Official State Personal Identification Card Act.
- Require that enhanced licenses and personal ID cards include security measures to protect against unauthorized disclosure of personal information.
- Require an applicant for an enhanced driver’s license or ID card to provide documentation demonstrating his or her U.S. citizenship, full legal name, Social Security number, and other information.
- Require the Secretary of State to verify the genuineness, regularity and legality of every application and other documentation submitted for an enhanced license or ID card.
- Provide that a person who made a false certification or statement in applying for an enhanced driver’s license or state ID card would be guilty of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
- Permit the Secretary of State to enter into a memorandum of understanding with any federal agency to obtain approval for an enhanced license or ID card as proof of identity when entering the U.S.
(Read more here: http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,1607,7-127–186510–,00.html)
Representative Tobocman said that he sponsored the bill because “Michigan depends on the flexibility of same day travel that enables people to visit and spend dollars at local restaurants, casinos and businesses in Mexicantown, Greektown, and other attractions. The legislation acknowledges the need for secure borders while minimizing obstacles to our vital trade partnership with Canada.”
I absolutely agree – although I have a passport, many people don’t, and this allows for a cheaper way to travel to Canada. I should also point out that passport waiting periods are up to a couple of months now, so this is a way for people to get a document for international continental travel much quicker than waiting for a passport (although I’m sure that the lines at the Secretary of State are abou 10 times worse than they are at the Post Office). This ALSO gets rid of the waste of time of having to drive to Walgreen’s (the only place I found who does passport pictures) to get your picture taken for the passport.
As far as I know, Governor Granholm has not yet signed the bill, but that may have changed today – I’m not sure, but I’ll try to find some information (as always, if you find something, leave a comment and you become my hero for the day).