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Minnesota Legislature

Saying no to REAL ID (new law)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Mike Cook
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Civil liberties and privacy issues versus national security and federal accessibility are at the heart of a new law, the provisions of which were vetoed 12 months earlier.

Effective May 16, 2009, the law prevents the Department of Public Safety from taking any steps to implement or plan for implementation of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) sponsor the law.

A recommendation by the 9/11 Commission, the act’s goal is to create uniform standards for documents such as driver’s licenses and state identification cards, making them harder to forge, and thereby reducing identity fraud and tightening immigration standards.

States have called the act an unfunded mandate, and supporters have questioned the security associated with the plan and have concerns with data privacy issues.

Residents of states that do not adopt the federal standards by the end of this year would not be able to use their license or identification cards for federal purposes, such as boarding commercial aircraft or entering a federal building. However, supporters say this is unconstitutional. Mariani said 12 other states have passed similar laws, and that the federal government may be backing off on some requirements.

In an effort to compromise after vetoing the 2008 bill, Gov. Tim Pawlenty issued an executive order that would prevent state compliance before June 1, 2009, unless legislative approval is first given. He hoped the time would allow all sides to reach a compromise on issues such as federal funding, privacy and state control.

HF988*/SF738/CH92

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