For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
Minnesota is one step closer to meeting federal guidelines that will allow residents to board an airplane in four years, as the Minnesota House of Representatives has approved legislation taking the first step towards complying with REAL-ID standards.
Citing personal privacy concerns, state lawmakers in 2008 banned the state Department of Public Safety from even having a conversation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about implementing any federal REAL-ID guidelines. The legislation we approved this week effectively removes that ban.
Once signed into law, the Commissioner of Public safety will be directed to request temporary relief for Minnesotans needing a REAL-ID to enter military bases and federal buildings, as well as for air travel until the year 2020.
What has yet to be determined is the actual legislation that would fully implement our state's compliance with REAL-ID.
This is going to be tricky as many of us on both sides of that aisle are concerned about data privacy and control that one person at DHS will have over it.
One of the top concerns centers on the DHS commissioner having potential control over your 2nd Amendment rights, or potential gun sales data being monitored by the federal government. To that point, there are some protections included in the bill approved by the Minnesota House. The language basically states that if the federal government attempts any changes to REAL-ID, they must be reviewed by Minnesota House and Senate leadership and leading members of relevant committees in both chambers.
In short, it gives the legislature the power to stop the changes from occurring here, which is good news because I don't want to see one federal agency and commissioner having such power over citizens by having a national identification system.
It's clear that in order for full REAL-ID implementation to occur in Minnesota, Democrats and Republicans will need to be assured that personal information will not be misused by anyone moving forward. I expect to see legislation addressing this topic in the next few weeks, and I will be sure to keep you updated on its progress.
On another note, have you had a problem with MNsure? If so, I urge you to make your concerns known.
Recently, House Republicans in the State Government Finance Committee launched a website to gather comments and feedback from Minnesota families, taxpayers and small business owners affected by MNsure.
The new website can be found at http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cmte/comment and is also linked on the House State Government Finance Committee page.
If lawmakers are going to properly address the MNsure issues Minnesotans are facing, we need to know about all of them. If you've had any trouble, even if it was having to wait on your 1095-A form to file your taxes, please let us know.
As always, I am interested in your feedback. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail at Rep.Kathy.Lohmer@House.MN or contact my office at 651-296-4244. You can also send mail to my office address: 501 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.
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