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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

ST. PAUL – A bill that begins Minnesota's REAL-ID compliance process, which is necessary in order to allow travelers to board an airplane beginning in 2018, has been approved in the Minnesota House. It was approved on a 125-2 vote.


"REAL-ID standards have been accepted in nearly every state, and Minnesota is one of the few holdouts," said State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska). "The goal of this particular bill is to give the state and federal government the chance to work out an acceptable agreement."


In January, the Department of Homeland Security told Minnesota it had until 2018 to develop REAL ID-compliant licenses. Without them, residents could not board an airplane.


Feeling it was an invasion of privacy, Minnesota legislators approved a law in 2008 barring Minnesota's Department of Public Safety from even discussing REAL ID compliance with Homeland Security. The measure approved by the House recently would eliminate that ban and allow the planning process to begin.


"There's nothing partisan about allowing residents to travel on an airplane, and I think the overwhelming support for this bill proves that," Torkelson said. "While it would take two years before any traveler is in danger, no one wants the legislature to wait that long, which is why I'm pleased we're moving forward on a REAL-ID solution."


Torkelson said a second bill that deals with full implementation of REAL ID will likely be brought forward in the coming weeks, and that it’s a top goal to save Minnesotans the cost and hassle of having to make an extra trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles. He added that personal privacy concerns must also be addressed in that legislation.