Monday, February 5, 2007

States Begin To Challenge Real ID 2005

A story on the AP wires reports that the Pine Tree State is beginning a revolt against a national driver's license which is quickly spreading to other states.

On Jan. 26 the Maine legislature overwhelmingly passed a resolution objecting to the Real ID Act of 2005. The resolution passed unanimously in the Maine Senate and 137-4 in the House. It states that the legislature is protesting the law, which would cost Maine taxpayers about $185 million in the first five years. Maine legislators have refused to implement the Real ID Act and are calling on Congress to repeal it. (More here)

The federal law (Real ID 2005) dictates a national standard for driver's licenses that each state must adhere to and it also requires that states have link their record-keeping systems to national databases. The U.S. Senate voted unanimously in favor of the law in 2005. The U.S. House of Representatives voted 261-161 in favor, with 11 members abstaining.

Within a week of Maine's legislative action, lawmakers in Georgia, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington state also protested the Real ID Act. They are expected to pass their own laws soon or begin to adopt resolutions which will express their desire to decline participation in the federal identification network. About a dozen states already have active legislation against Real ID, including Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.
Missouri state Rep. James Guest(R), has formed a coalition of lawmakers from 34 different states to file legislation that opposes or protests Real ID. Apparently many legislators in those states are very concerned about privacy issues as well as the associated implementation costs which run into the billions. Chalk one up for those who are willing to take a stand on states' rights.
There are some states like Indiana and Maryland who aim to comply with Real ID. Supporters of Real ID say it is needed to prevent terrorists and illegal immigrants from getting fake identification cards. (As if they won't make fake ones, or somehow establish bogus ID's)

According to the Real ID Act, states will have to comply with the law by May 2008. If they don't, then driver's licenses that do not meet Real ID's standards will not be able to be used to board an airplane or enter a federal building or open some bank accounts. Bio-metric information will also be incorporated into this new form of national ID card.

Interesting article and FAQ on how Real ID will affect you.

Also see previous post about Real ID 2005.