Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Senate Passes REAL ID Bill, Overcoming Staunch Opposition

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Senate Passes REAL ID Bill, Overcoming Staunch Opposition

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * Missouri is one step closer to complying with federal REAL ID law after supporters cleared a major hurdle in the Senate Tuesday night, compromising with legislators who had previously blocked the effort because of privacy concerns.

The pressure has been on to address the issue in the final days of the legislative session. If the measure isn't headed to the governor's desk before the session ends at 6 p.m. Friday, Missourians could be on the hook for passports even for domestic flights beginning in January, and won't be able to access federal buildings or military bases with their existing identification.

The REAL ID act was passed after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in the hopes of preventing future attacks by setting standards for state-issued IDs. But leaders in states like Missouri feared the law would force states to keep databases of personal documents that could put citizens' personal information at risk.

Sponsoring Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican who has championed the fix, said he worked with other senators all Tuesday to address privacy concerns that had the bill's future in question, including criminal penalties for misuse or unlawful access of personal data.

Silvey's measure is similar to those passed in Vermont, Connecticut and New York, which allow those who want compliant IDs to get them but permits those uncomfortable with sharing their documents to opt out.

"It doesn't force anyone to do anything they don't want to do," Silvey said.

The Senate-backed measure also includes provisions that would eliminate Missouri's version of REAL ID if the federal law is repealed, and require that the Legislature revisit the issue should requirements under federal law expand.

The state would also not be allowed to further charge Missourians who already have an ID and are trying to get one that is compliant.

"I don't think we should be charging a duplicate fee," said Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit, who has been a vocal opponent of the legislation. …

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