Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

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

Back to profile


Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Minnesota House has approved legislation that would allow Minnesotans to obtain Real–ID compliant identification, which is necessary in order to allow travelers to board an airplane beginning in 2018.


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. That ban was removed last year, and the bill approved by the House begins the compliance process.


Because of Homeland Security’s direction that it wants to have the ability to verify a person’s identity in order to keep us better protected, we’ve had to go through a few hurdles to approve a compatible driver’s license. But we also know there are people that are very concerned about their private data.


This is why our bill provides a two-tier driver’s license system. Minnesotans can choose between a Real ID-compliant license that ensures they can easily board an airplane or enter federal facilities, as well as a second option for those who wish to opt-out of the federally mandated Real ID requirements. In other words, if you choose to keep the license you have and not obtain one that is Real ID authorized, you can.  However, you will need to have a passport or some other form of identification for getting on airplanes or going onto military bases.


Without meaningful steps that put Minnesota on a path to compliance, the federal government can and will prevent Minnesotans who do not have a Real ID-compliant identification from getting on airplanes in 2018. Last year, our state’s request for an extension was again denied because we have not taken the appropriate steps to become compliant. Until we do, the deadline of 2018 will prevent Minnesotans from boarding commercial airplanes unless they have a passport.


I think this bill will address everyone’s concerns about flying and their concerns about privacy.  I think it was a great opportunity for us to comply and allow people to move about the country as they wish.