California Senators Approve Electronic Insurance Proof Bill

Senators in the California Legislature passed a bill Thursday that puts the state on track to be the fourth in the U.S. with a law allowing motorists to use mobile devices to prove they have the insurance required to drive.

AB 1708, authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), received an approving vote in the state Senate after members of two Senate committees voted for the bill in late June and early July. The legislation now heads back to the state Assembly, where members will likely agree on amendments and send the bill to Gov. Jerry Brown for final consideration.

Under the proposal, motorists would be able to get car insurance online or through an agent and display evidence of that coverage through electronic means.

Several major insurers already provide electronic formats of a driver’s policy that can be viewed on smartphones and mobile devices and presented to authorities. Under the legislation, a motorist can also scan their policy card or documents themselves and display those images as acceptable proof of coverage.

The legislation saw unanimous support as it moved through the legislative process, netting a 73-0 vote from the state Assembly on May 10, a 17-0 vote in the Appropriations Committee on May 2 and 13-0 vote in the Insurance Committee on April 18. Gatto introduced the bill in February.

Other States Recently Passed Electronic Proof Bills

Idaho finalized its electronic proof legislation in late March, becoming the first state in the U.S. to do so.

Also in late March, Arizona lawmakers passed electronic proof legislation that recently went into effect at the beginning of this month.

Louisiana’s electronic proof measure also went into effect at the beginning of August.

A regulation in Alabama allows electronic means of proving coverage during the vehicle registration process and goes into effect January 2013. Colorado already allows electronic means of proving coverage during the registration process.

Legislators have lined up to support such measures, usually pushing them quickly through the legislative process with strong backing.

California senators passed AB 1708 Thursday as part of their consent calendar, a collection of non-contentious measures that are slated for voting approval.

Idaho’s SB 1319 got only vote against it during the month-and-a-half before it was signed by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

In Arizona, senators and representatives provided two unanimous votes that helped HB 2677 clear the state Legislature in a little over two months.

It took about the same time period for Louisiana’s HB 1130 to reach Gov. Bobby Jindal’s desk for finalization.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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