States Balk at Implementing Real ID Act

by TChris

For the reasons TalkLeft discussed here and here and here and here and in many other posts, the Real ID Act is a bad law. TalkLeft's take:

This is a quick fix that won't do anything to stop terrorists or enhance our safety. It will only further diminish our privacy rights. Can anyone say, "Your Papers Please?"

As TalkLeft predicted here, states are starting to balk at implementing the law.

They say the law -- which requires states to use sources like birth certificates and national immigration databases to verify that people applying for or renewing driver's licenses are American citizens or legal residents -- will be too expensive and difficult to put in place by the May 2008 deadline. Another issue is the privacy impact of the requirement that states share, through databases, the personal information needed for a driver's license.

Concerns are so great that last week, the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators issued a report saying that the states have not been given the time or money to comply with the law and that they need at least another eight years.

Two states have considered resolutions calling for the law to be repealed, the New York City Council passed a resolution opposing it and New Hampshire is considering opting out entirely. ...

"There are unanswered concerns about privacy," said Pamela Walsh, a spokeswoman for [New Hampshire Gov. John] Lynch. "There are a lot of questions about cost to states for implementing this, and there are the potential unintended consequences of turning our Department of Motor Vehicle workers into agents for the Department of Homeland Security."

Homeland Security won't trouble itself to issue rules for implementing the new law until later this year. Without knowing what DHS will require, states can't make progress to meet the deadline.

State politicians of both parties understand that the law needs to be repealed.

Resolutions were introduced in Kentucky and Washington State urging repeal of the law. Neither made it to a full vote, but the sponsors want to try again.

"We'll be back," said Representative Toby Nixon, a Republican who sponsored the Washington resolution.

Mr. Nixon said that the law would cost his state $50 million a year and that linking data from each state would create "effectively a national citizenship database."

"I can just hear the black helicopters arriving now," he said.

The sponsor of Kentucky's resolution, Representative Kathy W. Stein, a Democrat, said: "New Hampshire -- is their state slogan 'Live Free or Die'? We're more of a guns, God, gays and gynecology state. But this is one of those issues where the extreme left, which I'm always characterized as, and the extreme right meet."

Indeed, in New Hampshire, those testifying in favor of rejecting Real ID included the Cato Institute and the American Civil Liberties Union.

< Jury Awards $2.25 Million to Exonerated Inmate | General at the NSA Doesn't Know the Fourth Amendment >
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