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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Monday, February 27, 2017

Dear Friends,

After much debate, the house passed a Real ID bill HF3.

Real ID

Many of you may know that as of January 1st, 2018, Minnesotans will be unable to board a plane, enter military bases, or other federal facilities using their existing Minnesota driver’s license. There is a federal requirement that you have a Real ID to access these areas.

On the negative side, many people from our district have expressed concerns that the federal government will have increased access to their private information because this is a federal mandate. I would like be clear regarding this issue: neither the state, nor federal government, will have access to any more information than what is currently required to apply for a Minnesota driver’s license.

The main difference between a Real ID and a standard driver’s license is that your application will be run through an extra security database to verify that your social security number belongs to you, also that you do not have a driver’s license from another state, and that you are a citizen of the United States.

These additional security measures were passed back in 2005 by the federal government in an effort to increase national security in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks.

Our caucus understands that some Minnesotans remain uncomfortable with the increased security measures involved in receiving a Real ID. Other people are simply concerned with being able to board a plane or enter a federal facility with their Minnesota driver’s license.

Our bill, HF3, allows Minnesotans to choose between a standard driver’s license like we have now, or a Real ID. This compromise respects the Minnesotans on both sides of this issue.

It would also guarantee that the federal government could not use these IDs for any non-federal purpose, such as purchasing a firearm or obtaining health insurance coverage.

Opponents of this bill are most concerned that the federal government currently has the ability to expand the requirements of the Real ID bill to become a National ID. Under the current Federal Real ID law, any expansion can be implemented without Congressional or State approval by the head of the federal Home Land Security Agency. The solution is for Congress to amend the law to require Congressional and State approval on any expansion of Read ID, and not by the dictates of the head of the Homeland Security Agency.

Last week the Minnesota House passed HF3 on a bipartisan vote, and included a provision prohibiting illegal immigrants from obtaining a Real ID driver’s license.

The Minnesota Senate has not passed their version of the Real ID bill yet. It is expected to come up in the next two weeks. I will keep you updated as it is debated in the Minnesota Senate.

Sincerely,

 

Glenn

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