Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Real ID Compliance

The "Real ID Project" being promoted by the Department of Homeland Security pursuant to recently enacted legislation is running into opposition in many state legislatures. According to a recent Associate Press report, at least 17 state legislatures have passed or are considering legislation opposing the Real ID bill. Passed by Congress and signed by President Bush as part of a funding package for the Iraq war, it sets a national standard for driver's licenses and requires states to link their records to national databases. States have until 2008 to comply, and failure will render state driver's licenses insufficient as IDs to board a plane, enter a federal building, or open certain kinds of bank accounts. There are also complaints that it is an unfunded mandate, and an invasion of privacy. Perhaps in recognition of the states' opposition, or as a result of the recent change in control of the Congress, Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) have introduced legislation that would add privacy and civil liberties safeguards to the act. Realistically, it will take states substantially more time to comply, and the efforts of the sponsors of this legislation will likely force an extension of time for compliance by the states.

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