Magazine article Information Management

States Say No to REAL ID

Magazine article Information Management

States Say No to REAL ID

Article excerpt

A growing number of U.S. states are rejecting the REAL ID Act, a federal law passed in 2005 that mandates the creation of standardized driver's licenses nationwide in an attempt to thwart terrorism and ID theft.

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In January, a bipartisan group of Maine lawmakers passed a nonbinding resolution rejecting the federal REAL ID Act, which requires states to participate in a national digital identification system for driver's licenses. The measure passed the Maine House and Senate with an overall vote of 171 to 4.

"Lawmakers in Maine under stand that security is a critical priority, but so is privacy and, most importantly, a security system should actually provide security," Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said in a release. "It is not at all clear that after all the expense and tribulation for citizens that REAL ID would present that we would really he safer."

As this publication went to press, lawmakers in five states--Georgia, Montana, New Mexico, Washington, and Wyoming--have voted in committee or on the floor of one chamber to move ahead legislation similar to Maine's, according to The New York Times. The bill adopted in a 99-to-1 vote by the Montana House of Representatives would go furthest, ordering state officials there to ignore the federal law.

Congress enacted REAL ID May 11, 2005. It establishes national standards and requirements that must be met by May 2008 if state-issued licenses and IDs are to be accepted as valid identification by the federal government. According to the Times, the law requires states to confirm that documents submitted to get driver's licenses--like a birth certificate or a passport--are legitimate and that the applicants are in the United States legally. States will also have to check a linked database of state licensing data to make sure that applicants do not already have a license in another state and that they have not been banned from driving elsewhere.

The act also requires that states "retain paper copies of source documents for a minimum of seven years, or images of source documents presented for a minimum of 10 years."

The law effectively requires that all existing licenses be replaced by 2013. …

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