It may be one of the shortest bills debated in the New Hampshire House of Representatives during this legislative session. The operative section of HB 299 consists of a single line: “(c) Reasonable identification shall not include finger prints.”
The bill, which passed the House 255-93 on Jan. 6, also had one operative target: Bank of America.
Since late 2008, Bank of America branches in New Hampshire have been requiring noncustomers to provide a fingerprint as identification even when cashing checks drawn on its accounts. It is the only bank in the state using the so-called “Thumbprint Signature” program, but the program is not uncommon elsewhere.
The Senate has yet to take up the measure, but the bill’s goals already have been met. BOA New Hampshire President John Weeks told a House committee last week that the fingerprinting would stop Feb. 8.
The bank deserves some credit for voluntarily changing its policies, albeit in the face of a public shaming. But its action may also derail the bill’s momentum in the Senate, leaving some opening for thumbprint identity verification in the future.
Read more of the editorial in The Nashua Telegraph.