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This month the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles is finalizing a list of states with less stringent requirements for a driver's license than Nevada. Once it's complete licenses from some other states won't be valid proof of identity or worthy of exchange for a Nevada Driver's license, affecting potentially 80-thousand people who exchange out of state licenses here every year. KNPR's Ky Plaskon reports.


Currently, state law says the Nevada DMV must accept licenses from other states. But as a result of a legislative law change, starting January 1st the DMV doesn't have to anymore. Kevin Malone, public information officer of the Nevada DMV says it's not about the ability to drive.

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Ha ha ha, no that is a different set of requirements,

It's about the driver's license as a defacto identity card. The DMV is currently evaluating each state's requirements to get a driver's license. Malone says the problem is that some states see it as just a license to drive and not proof of identity.

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Well in Oregon for example, for proof of identity they will accept marriage certificates. A vehicle title or a company ID card a firearms permit. Things like vehicle titles, or registration slips or a company ID card just don't cut it here in Nevada and that's always been the case.

Less stringent requirements in Oregon would explain why DMV statistics show a disproportionate number of working age males from Oregon exchanging licenses in Nevada according to the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Nevada is aiming to stop that exchange by only accept licenses from states that require birth certificates, military ID's and proof of legal residency for a driver's license. Driver's from states that didn't require those documents would have to present one like a birth certificate when trying to get a license here. That's an inconvenience for most, like Justin who is exchanging his license at the Henderson DMV.

I think it's bullcrap. I would get a little angry.

But the policy will all-together cut out licensing for illegal immigrants who contribute 550 million every year in taxes and gaming in the state through work according to UNLV estimates.

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You are blocking a group of people who have contributed to this country

Miguel Barientos is president of the Mexican American Political Associtation in Las Vegas.

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and well all of a sudden you are no longer allowed to have a car in Nevada so how you are going to get to work is your problem but we still expect you to pay everything else, you know, where is the fairness in that?

He is upset because legislative representatives didn't encourage public discourse on the law before it was passed.

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I think they need to be more open in explaining what is going on, not just say hey (blam) wake up in the morning hey you got a new law and its not good. I think communication is the key.

The concern among Nevada's DMV, legislators and police is that licenses from other states with less stringent requirements contributes to identity theft, fraud and is a threat to homeland security. Jim Moses of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department identity theft and fraud occurs in all states no matter how stringent the requirements are. But he says there's another way to solve identity fraud cases without alienating illegal immigrants from the driver's seat. Interconnect the nation's DMV's.

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If you are surrendering a driver's license then pull that state's up and ask some pertinent questions and ask when was the last time you got a speeding ticket,, never, okay that is the right answer, all we have to do is a little bit more investigation, that would take about three minutes and we could stop about 90 percent of all the identity assumption with other driver's licenses.

Such a system is in place according to the Jason King of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. It's a commercial driver's license system that congress could modernize.


And give it the capacity so that states can eventually cross reference with other states what a person's driving history looks like, but it has go to start somewhere and that is about 36 million dollars over the course of the next 6 years.

Doesn't sound like a lot of money,

It's a drop in the bucket when you consider all the other funding that is spent on homeland security efforts.

Until then, the Nevada DMV will consider some other state's driver's licenses invalid forms of identification affecting the mobility of the nation's 190 million licensed drivers and illegal immigrants here who want to get a license.

For KNPR, I'm Ky Plaskon

TAG: The Nevada DMV is considering public testimony on this issue. For a text version of this story additional links and phone numbers, visit our web site at


American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators

Mexican American Political Association

Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles
Public Information Officer: Kevin Malone (702) 486-1311

Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles