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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Petersburg (R)

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Two months ago I began hearing from a number of constituents who were concerned that Minnesota's REAL ID noncompliance could impact their future travel plans.


Today, Minnesota is one step closer towards meeting the federal guideline.


Some history: Minnesota is one of the few remaining states that has not implemented REAL ID, which according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a "coordinated effort by the states and the federal government to improve the reliability and accuracy of state-issued identification documents."


Believing it infringed on a person's right to privacy, in 2008 the Minnesota legislature overwhelmingly approved a law that prevented Minnesota's Department of Public Safety from even having a conversation about REAL ID compliance with DHS.


Last fall, DHS notified Minnesota that it had until 2018 to address this situation. If it failed to do so, Minnesotans would need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board their flight, as their driver's license would no longer be accepted.


With that in mind, the Minnesota House took action this week. We overwhelmingly passed a bill that repeals the ban on the Department of Public Safety from researching steps toward compliance. Legislation addressing the ban on implementation of REAL ID is expected to be brought forward in the coming weeks.


As co-author of this proposal, I'm pleased we have taken the first step towards compliance. No family that wants to use airline travel for a future vacation needs to face REAL ID uncertainty. However, until we get an extension from DHS, there may still be issues with visiting a son or daughter on a military base or federal facility. We will continue to work on getting that provision fixed as quickly as we can.


The legislature is doing the right thing by addressing the REAL ID conundrum. You can't find agreement on a solution unless you are able to talk about it, and if Governor Dayton signs this proposal into law, the REAL ID compliance discussions can finally begin.