Senators in no hurry for state to develop secure driver's license replica for mobile devices

State Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, left, speaks Thursday to the Senate Appropriations Committee about his plan for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to create secure driver's licenses and state identification credentials that Hoosiers could store on their mobile devices, as a supplement to the physical cards.

INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers some day may get to have a secure digital version of their driver's license or state identification card stored on their mobile devices, but it'll be up to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to decide when that happens.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday revised Senate Bill 182, sponsored by state Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, to eliminate a mandate that the BMV develop a mobile credentialing system by 2021.

Committee leaders said they were concerned about the estimated $1.5 million to $3 million cost of developing an Indiana mobile credential. Eliminating the requirement that the BMV create one will give the agency time to figure out how best to do it.

Melton said other states have minimized the expense by imposing a fee on credential holders who want a digital version of their driver's license or ID to supplement the physical card that still would be issued by the BMV under his plan.

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"Eventually this is going to happen almost everywhere," said Melton, who likened it to widely used mobile payment applications linked to a credit card account.

"It it is my hope that Indiana will be one of the few states that's being proactive in its implementation," he said.

The amended legislation next week will be evaluated by the full Senate prior to a vote on advancing it to the House.

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Financial Affairs Reporter

Dan has reported on Indiana state government for The Times since 2009. He also covers casinos, campaigns and corruption.