OK-SAFE Inc. – Evidence of the powerful RFID lobby in the Oklahoma Legislature, the bill prohibiting RFID tags in the OK drivers license will only be heard in committee if the author of the bill agrees to new language allowing RFID tags in the Oklahoma drivers license.
Rep. Steve Martin, vice-chair of the House Public Safety committee, has offered a proposed committee substitute for HB 1399, by Rep. Paul Wesselhoft. Martin’s proposed language is a backdoor attempt to allow the state to imbed RFID tags in drivers licenses and state issued-identification cards, while limiting their use.
Currently, the state of Oklahoma does not allow RFID tags in their drivers licenses, despite the federal push to add them. (See prior post on this bill here and information on the REAL ID debacle here.)
If Wesselhoft refuses Martin’s new language, committee Chairman Rep. Sue Tibbs will not allow the bill a hearing.
If the bill’s author agrees to the substitution, and that language passes, the state will have opened the door to having RFID tags in the drivers licenses, the very thing HB 1399 was trying to prohibit in the first place.
Both Tibbs and Martin blocked this bill last session, when the bill was originally introduced.
Such is the power of the chairman’s position – and why a bill like HR 1004 is so necessary. (HR 1004 is a proposed rule change introduced by Rep. Charles Key at the beginning of the 2011 session that would require a chair to hear a bill if the author asked for it to be heard in committee. House leadership has effectively blocked the passage of this resolution.)
OK-SAFE recommends that Wesselhoft rejects the Martin committee substitute language.
HB 1399 Language, amending Title 47, Section 6-111:
7. The Department of Public Safety shall be prohibited from embedding, affixing, adhering or assigning any radio frequency identification (RFID) tag to any driver license or identification card. The Department shall further be prohibited from utilizing any type of RFID ink in any format or configuration onto or into any driver license or identification card. As used in this paragraph, “radio frequency identification” means a data collection technology system that uses electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to transmit signals that contain unique identification or location information of persons or products.
Martin’s Proposed Committee Substitute:
The Department of Public Safety shall be prohibited from embedding, affixing, adhering or assigning to any driver license or identification card any device, object, or technology with any of the following of the characteristics or capabilities contained herein:
a. ) The conveyance of information of any kind concerning the owner or subject of the driver license or identification card not presented in the legible text of the driver license or identification card.
b.) The capability of the card to be remotely read while being held in a wallet or purse.
The proposed language and section a.) does not prohibit a RFID tag in/on the state drivers’ license or identification card. It allows an RFID tag that contains some information. In other words, it’s a way to put RFID tags into the state drivers licenses and ID cards, while limiting the information to be the same as what is readable on the card. If put into place, this language can later be amended to expand the RFID data requirements.
Further, section b.) does literally nothing to protect the RFID tag from being remotely read. Because people have to take their driver’s license out of their wallet or purse so frequently – i.e. writing a check, getting a prescription, getting a credit card, for ID when making a return at a store, to get into some buildings, to buy an airline ticket, to board a plane, etc. – their drivers license is exposed a great deal of the time, leaving plenty of opportunity for it to be read remotely.
OK-SAFE believes this is an attempt at slight of hand and again recommends Wesselhoft rejects the Martin/Tibbs proposals.