MANDATORY STATE MEDICAL IDs AND THE DMV
I have received hundreds of emails over the last few days from concerned Utahans who read or heard that the legislature was considering implementing state ID cards that would have to be carried at all times and mandatory COVID-19 testing. I looked through our interim meeting agenda, and this is where I believe the worry about state ID cards comes from.
The Transportation Interim Committee agenda for today, June 17th, has this agenda item:
3. Transition from a Driver License to a State ID Card Responding to COVID-19 is prompting review of how the state addresses various services and processes, including accelerating some changes already contemplated. The committee will discuss the transition from a driver license to a state-issued ID card.
I spoke to Senator Millner, who requested the discussion. She told me this discussion item is about her mother’s driver’s license expiring during the COVID restrictions and that she wanted to relinquish it voluntarily and get a state ID card instead. Because of the restrictions on in-person services, her mom could not get a state ID card. Because a state ID is required for certain things, like registering to vote, her mom had to renew her driver’s license instead–which was allowed under COVID restrictions. Sen. Millner wants to make it easier for Utahns to transition from a driver’s license to a state ID card during a state of emergency.
The DMV issues are ongoing, and I hope that we get at least some of them resolved during our committee discussion. I got a phone call from a constituent recently about how difficult it is to make appointments to access DMV services. The convenient times fill up quickly, and you might not be able to get in before your registration expires. He brought up something I had not considered: Even though Utah has suspended giving tickets for expired registration, the Dept. of Natural Resources, a federal agency, has not. He knew because he had received a ticket from them. We need to fix these problems and minimize these unintended consequences moving forward.
MANDATORY COVID-19 TESTING
There is draft legislation being heard in the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee that modifies the code defining penalties and procedures to protect certain public safety workers from a communicable disease. The draft bill provides criminal penalties for intentionally coughing on a first responder or correctional facility employee and authorizes a court to order an individual to submit to medical testing for COVID-19 under certain circumstances. This bill could be modified or tabled for further discussion by the committee.
Remote interim committee meetings began this week starting on Monday. The committees that I am on, Transportation and Political Subdivisions, will be meeting tomorrow. The calendar tab at le.utah.gov is a great place to find out what committees meet when. If you click on the meeting on the calendar, you can see the agenda, meeting materials, and listen to audio of the meeting.
Governor Herbert has called a special session that will be held on Thursday and Friday. The proclamation has to include all the topics for bills that might be voted on, and this proclamation has a list of 26 items. On this page, there are links to a summary of proposed legislation, the proposed bills, and audio and video of the session. One of the important things we will be doing is adjusting the budget. I will report back on that next week.