There have been a number of recent stories that have focused on a federal law called REAL ID and Minnesota’s current non-compliance with this law. A number of the stories express concerns by some that Minnesotans may not be able to board a commercial aircraft in 2016 if Minnesota law is not brought up to federal standards.
Real ID is a set of standards and procedures for improving the security of driver’s licenses and personal identification cards passed by Congress and enacted into law in 2005 in response to the attacks on 9/11. At the time, questions were raised over privacy issues, civil liberties, data security, and how states would handle this unfunded mandate – since they would bear the financial burden of meeting the new standards set.
At this time, Minnesota is one of five states and territories that do not have full compliance with Real ID standards.
While the Legislature continues to investigate the costs and privacy concerns regarding REAL ID in the coming months, it should be noted that Minnesota already has a state source of identification that is accepted under REAL ID standards—the Enhanced Driver’s License. This is an optional license that costs an additional $15 and requires more identification verification in order to receive it. For additional information on Minnesota’s “Enhanced Driver’s License” visit here.
At this point, I am encouraging constituents to continue making travel plans for 2016 as they normally would. I am confident that the legislature will thoroughly examine the privacy risks and costs and work with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure Minnesota meets standards and citizens will be able to travel without worry.
As always, I will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
If you have any questions regarding this matter or any other before the legislature, please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.