HOUSE BILL REPORT
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
As Reported by House Committee On:
Title: An act relating to a medical alert designation on driver's licenses.
Brief Description: Concerning a medical alert designation on driver's licenses.
Sponsors: Representatives Kilduff, Lovick, Chapman, Orwall, Rude, Leavitt, Santos, Pollet and Wylie.
Transportation: 2/3/20, 2/11/20 [DP].
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
Majority Report: Do pass. Signed by 28 members: Representatives Fey, Chair; Wylie, 1st Vice Chair; Slatter, 2nd Vice Chair; Valdez, 2nd Vice Chair; Barkis, Ranking Minority Member; Walsh, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Boehnke, Chambers, Chapman, Doglio, Duerr, Entenman, Eslick, Goehner, Gregerson, Irwin, Kloba, Lovick, McCaslin, Mead, Orcutt, Ortiz-Self, Paul, Ramos, Riccelli, Shewmake, Van Werven and Volz.
Minority Report: Without recommendation. Signed by 2 members: Representatives Young, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Dufault.
Staff: Christine Thomas (786-7142).
For a fee, the Department of Licensing (DOL) issues driver's licenses that are valid for up to six years to every qualifying applicant. The license must include a distinguishing number assigned to the licensee; the name of record; date of birth; photograph; a signature; and, if applicable, a veteran's designation.
Summary of Bill:
The DOL must include a medical alert designation on a driver's license indicating that the licensee has provided information to the DOL identifying an eligible medical condition, if applicable. Any person may apply to obtain a medical alert designation on a driver's license by providing: (a) a certification, signed by a health professional, verifying a medical condition that could affect communication or account for a driver health emergency; (b) a statement from the person that they have voluntarily provided the certification and other information verifying the medical condition; and (c) a signature of a parent or guardian for applicants under the age of 18. The signed certification is subject to the privacy protections of the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act. The certification is not disclosable and is for the confidential use of the DOL Director, the Chief of the Washington State Patrol, law enforcement, and emergency medical service providers.
Fiscal Note: Available.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect on July 1, 2020.
Staff Summary of Public Testimony:
(In support) The moment of contact between law enforcement officers and emergency medical service providers and drivers is critical to the outcome of the interaction. Voluntarily providing information via a designation on the drivers license affects communication, but also alerts law enforcement officers that there is a condition that could account for a health emergency. The certification provided for a medical alert designation must be provided voluntarily and signed by a licensed health professional. The bill is clear about the driver's right to privacy per federal law. Having a medical alert identifier could be the needed missing link when the driver's license is provided to heighten awareness around the need for certain communication or the need for medical attention.
(Other) More information to law enforcement officers helps people remain safe, both the individuals as well as the officers. This bill should be coordinated with the Travis Alert Act to ensure that officers can look up a name through their computer systems and discover the medical condition of the individual.
Persons Testifying: (In support) Representative Kilduff, prime sponsor; Diana Stadden, The Arc of Washington State; and Donna Patrick, Developmental Disabilities Council.
(Other) James McMahan, Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.
Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: None.