Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Senate bill would restrict DPS to gathering thumbprints at license renewals

State Sen. Charles Schwertner has a good bill (SB 398) up tomorrow in the Senate Transportation Committee clarifying the statute which the Department of Public Safety had interpreted broadly to claim they could gather all ten fingerprints when Texans renewed their drivers licenses. Schwertner's bill leaves DPS' authority where it was after the last time the Legislature considered this issue in 2003 and 2005: thumbprints only, or the index finger if thumbprints cannot be taken.

Make me Philospher King and Grits would probably rescind the gathering of thumbprints, too, but I do admit that the ability to match thumbprints contributes to preventing drivers license fraud. That's why I was satisfied, if not entirely pleased, with the 2005 compromise. DPS' unilateral decision to start gathering all ten fingerprints demonstrates the slippery-slope risk whenever such authority is granted. Thumbprints gathered for the purposes of verifying drivers license information shouldn't metastasize into a statewide fingerprint database including people who never committed crimes. This bill at least preserves the compromise cut in 2003-5 on these topics.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The DPS Corporation has already violated my unalienable rights by forcing me to register my private vehicle and taking my fingerprints (10) for a drivers license, when I am a traveler - not a driver(commercial), as if I were a criminal. Then giving an illegal immigrant a drivers license with no identification.