Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ariz. Legislature kills Real ID; critics point to hefty costs

Before I get to REAL ID, I want to correct a mistaken hyperlink I used last Thursday to the story on NPR about Jerry Brown's proposed medical records database for which I was interviewed. Here's the correct link to the California Report and about half way in to the 10 minute program on June 5th you'll find the segment and a clip from my interview. Or just click here: Listen (RealMedia stream) Download (MP3)


Another state - demonstrating the bipartisan red and blue nature of REAL ID opposition - has joined the coalition rejecting the feds attempt at creating a National ID Program. I of course am speaking of the liberty crushing REAL ID Act "passed" through congress without debate in 2005 as an amendment on a bill full of security recommendations stemming from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

I suspect we all know how "the card" generally works, so let's get to Arizona! As we are all aware, there have been varying degrees of state opposition to the Act to date, with some hinting at opposition, others dragging their feet, and still others ratifying, in law, their non-compliance. Well, assuming Gov. Napolitano signs the bill, which all indications say she will, Arizona will become the 10th state to prohibit compliance with the federal program.

The Arizona Republic reports:

On a 51-1 final vote, House lawmakers sent Gov. Janet Napolitano their House Bill 2677, a measure barring the state from participating in the federal Real ID program. If Napolitano signs the bill, Arizona will become the 10th state to prohibit compliance with the federal program.

But the legislation's impact is negligible for the time being because Real ID isn't slated to take effect for at least another 18 months.


...critics have voiced concerns about hefty costs - to be borne by the states - to develop the IDs. Some opponents say the central databases needed increase the risk of identity theft and fear Real ID is a step toward a national identification card. Groups across the political spectrum - from the ACLU to the John Birch Society - have aligned against the federal program.

State compliance is voluntary, but individuals will be required to carry identification that meets Real ID standards to board commercial flights or enter federal buildings. The program's implementation has already been delayed until the end of 2009.

So to recap recent moves being made by various states - with Minnesota and Alaska leading the charge - let's go to the New American which just reported on this very question:

In May Minnesota and Alaska became the eighth and ninth states whose legislatures have rejected Real ID, joining Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Washington. A dozen more states have approved resolutions calling for the costs of the Real ID program to be fully covered by Congress or the act repealed.

Minnesota’s Real ID resolution (HF3807) was clearly stated and uncompromising: “Section 1. Noncompliance With Real ID Act. The commissioner of public safety is prohibited from taking any action to implement or to plan for the implementation by this state of those sections of Public Law 109-13 known as the Real ID Act.” Both House and Senate passed this bill by veto-proof margins, 103-30 and 50-16 respectively.

Unfortunately, Governor Tim Pawlenty cleverly engineered a way to veto the bill and avoid an override vote. In the waning days of Minnesota’s legislative session, Pawlenty vetoed HF3807, then issued an executive order that would prevent full state compliance with the federal Real ID program before June 1, 2009 unless approved by the legislature. When the legislature met for the last time the next day, an attempt to override the veto was rejected with little discussion.

It was a different story in Alaska. Its resolution (SB202) stated, “A state agency may not expend funds solely for the purpose of implementing or aiding in the implementation of the requirements of the federal Real ID Act of 2005.” Although this resolution is not as bold and uncompromising as Minnesota’s was, it has the virtue of being passed into law through overwhelming votes of 39-1 and 19-1 in the House and Senate respectively, and through Governor Sarah Palin’s acquiescence when she failed to either sign or veto the bill in the mandatory 20-day period.

You can be sure I'll be keeping you up to speed on all the most important REAL ID related news for you right here.

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