ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation which would allow Minnesotans to obtain an ID which complies with increased federal standards for such purposes as boarding commercial flights.
Without a change in state law, standard Minnestoa driver’s licenses will no longer be acceptable for boarding planes as soon as January of 2018. Minnesota is one of only a few states which remains out of compliance with the new standards.
The House’s proposal (H.F. 3) features a two-path approach which allows people who want a Real ID to receive one, while also providing citizens the ability to continue using their standard ID.
“As a strong advocate of states’ rights, I reject the federal government’s overreach on this issue,” said Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano. “Thankfully, we found a solution which allows people to gain compliance with Real ID while also providing people a path to non-participation if they would rather continue using the standard ID we have today.”
Real ID is a federal law passed in 2005 with the goal to make it more difficult for potential terrorists to obtain fake identification cards by setting standards that states must meet for their driver’s licenses. Some federal facilities, including military bases, have already began to require those without compliant licenses to provide passports or other documentation in order to be admitted.
“It all comes down to making the best of a bad hand dealt to us by the federal government,” McDonald said. “We looked for ways around this and were hopeful the new presidential administration would change courses on this issue but, unfortunately, that ship has sailed. We are left with no recourse other than to provide people with opt-in and opt-out choices. This bill accomplishes that.”
The House passed the bill 72-58. The Senate version (S.F. 166) is making its way through the committee process.