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License Address Change Passes Legislature

Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, holds up an enhanced driver’s license that had to be corrected by the local Department of Motor Vehicles.

Driver likely won’t have to note address changes on their driver’s licenses any longer — but that doesn’t mean they can stop notifying the DMV when they move.

Both houses of the state Legislature passed legislation that eliminates the requirement that a person write a change of address on the back of a driver license or non-driver identification document. The bill passed the state Senate earlier this session 48-13 with Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, voting against the bill. The Assembly passed the measure 141-4 with both Assemblymen Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, and Joe Giglio, R-Gowanda, in favor.

Similar legislation was approved by the state Senate in 2014, but didn’t pass the Assembly that year. In his legislative justification, Assemblyman Brian Cunningham, D-Brooklyn, said the current law requiring a change of address on the back of a driver’s license or ID card is a problem for the DMV. Space is limited on most modern licenses and forms of ID while the DMV is being asked to include an increasing amount of information on driver licenses, including data regarding the many types of driver license endorsements and restrictions for commercial and noncommercial licensees, and information pertaining to Real ID or Enhanced ID, organ donor status, and veteran status.

Goodell asked Cunningham if the DMV would still have to be notified. Cunningham said yes, the DMV has to be notified within 10 days of a change of address. It just wouldn’t have to be written on the back of the driver’s license.

“It’s actually a convenience for the DMV,” Cunningham said. “When you write, actually write, on the plastic it eliminates it, so an officer or anyone who presents that identification would not be able to see it because it would smeared off due to the laminate on the plastic.”

Goodell voted in favor of the legislation, but noted some irony that his enhanced driver’s license came with an incorrect address and, rather than pay an additional fee to have a corrected enhanced license created, the local DMV office simply affixed a sticker on the back of Goodell’s new ID with the corrected address.

The Jamestown Republican also noted that the bill could also create a problem in some places where certain names are common – like Jamestown with its Swedish and Italian names that often leave people identified by their age and address in addition to their name.

“So when this bill came along I just laughed,” Goodell said. “Sometimes it’s amazing what can be accomplished for free and that’s one of the free things. I would recommend my colleagues go ahead and approve this, although I will share with you in some communities you need to know not only the person’s name but their middle name and where they live in order to identify them.”

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