House shows support for photos on driver’s licenses

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(Host) The Vermont House has given its preliminary approval to legislation that will mandate photos on driver’s licenses in the state. The proposal applies only to new drivers. All current drivers will be exempt from the requirement.

Vermont is currently the only state that doesn’t mandate a photo on an individual’s driver’s license. Shelburne Representative George Schiavone told House members that the time has come for Vermont to join the rest of the country on this issue. Schiavone, who is a member of the House Transportation Committee, argued that the bill has national security implications.

(Schiavone) “We heard testimony that the thinking about the necessity for photo licensing has changed after the terrorist attacks in 2001. If Vermont required photo licenses it would deter criminals and terrorists that might try to establish false identities. As a border state Vermont has a much broader national responsibility now. As the public safety commissioner said, we cannot afford to be the weakest link in the national security chain.”

(Host) Some members raised privacy concerns, but backers of the legislation downplayed the significance of this argument.

The full House gave its strong approval to the bill on a voice vote. The measure will come up for final approval on Wednesday afternoon.

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