Monday, January 29, 2007

Maine Rejects Real ID; Other States Preparing to Follow Suit--Good News! (For a Change)

Maine Becomes First State to Reject Participation in Real ID

On January 25, Maine became the first state to reject participation in the Real ID national identity card scheme, despite a supposed threat that the state’s Driver’s Licenses would no longer be recognized by the federal government for a variety of purposes including boarding an airplane and entering federal courthouses. Acivity in other states suggests that Maine's action will be just the first in a cascade of state refusals. (For other states where action is pending, see Status of Anti-Real ID Legislation in the States)

The resolution passed unanimously in the State Senate (34-0), and nearly unanimously in the State House of Representatives (137-4).

Ever since Real ID was rammed through Congress over 18 Months ago, the big question has been whether any states would take the leap and opt out of Real ID. Now a state has done that, and it may well throw the whole scheme into crisis.

Maine resolution against Real ID.
National ACLU press release on Maine's action
Associated Press, "Maine Lawmakers Take Stand Against Real ID Act" Online >
Los Angeles Times, "Maine Lawmakers reject national identification," Online>
Reuters, "Maine revolts against digital U.S. ID card," Online >
Declan McCullagh, "Maine rejects Real ID," CNET Online >
UPI, "Maine Lawmakers reject Real ID," Online >

Real ID an Expensive Headache for Vermont

Lawmakers are dismayed by the cost to the state, and a bill in the legislature calls on Congress to fund the program and adopt changes advocated by the National Conference of State Legislatures and National Governors Association.

"Lawmakers Question Cost and Purpose of Federal ID Program," Boston Globe, January 19, 2007. Online >

"A Cynical Law," Rutland Herald Editorial, January 20, 2007. Online >

More information on the Vermont resolution available here.

The NCSL/NGA/AAMVA Report available here.


Washington Introduces Bill Defying Real ID Act

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen and others, prohibits the state from implementing Real ID unless it is funded by the federal government and includes privacy protections.

Read the bill text here (PDF).
Check status here.

Bill to Refuse Participation in Real ID Introduced in Montana Senate

The bill, introduced by Sen. Brady Wiseman, calls Real ID "inimical to the security and well-being of the people of Montana."

More information available here.

Sens. Akaka and Sununu Introduce Real ID Fix Bill

Read Sen. Akaka's floor statement here: PDF >
Bill text; PDF >
ACLU press release Online>
"NGA and NCSL Applaud Congressional Recognition of Real ID Shortcomings," Online >

Are You a Citizen? Prove It.

When Colorado state Sen. Andy McElhany (R) championed adoption of the strictest identification requirements in the country, his aim was to keep illegal immigrants off state welfare rolls. He didn’t anticipate making it harder for his 15-year-old daughter to get a learner’s permit.

Stateline.org, January 8, 2007. Online >

Nation's Governors "Universal" in Opposition to Real ID

"Will Real ID Cause Chaos at the DMV? Governors Revolt Over New Rules in Driver's Licenses," US News & World Report, December 10, 2006. Online >

DHS Regulations Said to be Approaching; Delays Have Made Deadline Impossible

The Department of Homeland Security continues to struggle with the complexity of implementing Real ID.
"Real ID Comes With Privacy Pitfalls," Federal Computers Weekly, October 23, 2006. Online >

"New Real ID Pointer System May Be Modeled After Trucker Database," Washington Technology, October 23, 2006. Online >

"Real ID Draft Regs Due by Year's End," Federal Computers Weekly, October 20, 2006. Online >

"Pointer System Could Speed Real ID Info Sharing," Federal Computers Weekly, October 20, 2006. Online >

Real ID: Where Rubber Meets the Road in Privacy Debate

Part four in MSNBC's five-part "Privacy Lost" series examines the Real ID Act, which eviscerates "any hope we may have of keeping government, industry and criminals out of our personal business."
Mike Stuckey, "Where Rubber Meets the Road in Privacy Debate," MSNBC, October 20, 2006. Online >
Threats to privacy discussed at ACLU Membership Conference in Washington DC.
"Your Papers Please! Fighting the Total Surveillance Society," Reason Online, October 19, 2006. Online >

Wall St. Journal Slams Real ID

"State agencies put the total cost of standardizing drivers' licenses at upwards of $11 billion; Congress has so far appropriated all of $40 million. Again, this is from a Republican Congress that made its first legislation upon taking power in 1995 a bill against imposing 'unfunded mandates.' It included a pledge not to impose any burden on the states that wasn't fully financed from Washington. Now comes Real ID, transforming state departments of motor vehicles back into everyone's worst nightmare. Some accomplishment."
--"Real Bad ID," The Wall Street Journal Editorial, October 10, 2006. PDF >

ID Requirements Keeping Deserving Kids Off Medicaid

A report in The Washington Post shows that identity verification requirements similar to those in Real ID are preventing thousands of low-income children from obtaining health insurance. Rules requiring proof of citizenship and birth certificate verification are cited as "the single greatest factor" for why eligiible children are being denied Medicaid coverage.
"Rules Deter Poor Children From Enrolling in Medicaid," Washington Post, October 8, 2006. Online >

Nation's Governors, State Legislators, DMVs Jointly Call For Major Revisions to Real ID, Issue Partial Cost Estimate Of Over $11 Billion

The National Governors' Association (NGA), the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) issued partial cost estimates for Real ID. Even omitting the costs of many major elements of the Act that could not be estimated, the groups found that Real ID would cost at least $11 billion. (State-by-state estimates were not made available.)

NGA, NCSL & AAMVA's National Impact Analysis Report, Sept. 21, 2006: Online >

ACLU press release on report: Online >

"ID Program Will Cost States $11 Billion, Report Says," Washington Post, September 22, 2006. Online >

"New driver's license system short-sighted," Daily News, Longview, WA, September 23, 2006. Online >

"Deep Six Real ID," Opinion, Baltimore Sun, September 27, 2006. PDF >


Lawmakers Demand Funding for Real ID Requirements

At the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators, lawmakers from across the country said the Federal Government either needs to come up with a way to pay for Real ID, or repeal it.
Associated Press, August 15, 2006. Online >

Real ID Problems Continue to Roil Alabama

State administrators, governors, and others have been warning about the disruption and chaos that actual implementation of Real ID will likely bring. This is not mere speculation, however - one attempt to begin initiating early compliance with the law has already created a "perfect storm" of confusion and disruption.

"Wait to get driver license is expected, but this long? Server failure causes computers to crash statewide," Decatur Daily News, July 30, 2006. Online >

"Long Lines for Licenses," Decatur Daily News, July 23, 2006. Online >

"New Driver Licenses Come With Delays," The Auburn Plainsman, March 9, 2006. Online >

"New License System Slows Drivers Nationwide," The Birmingham News, February 23, 2006. Online >

"Real ID: Really Aggravating?" Decatur Daily News, February 10, 2006. Online >

"Concerns About Real ID," Decatur Daily News, February 10, 2006. Online >

"Alabama's Use of Real ID Brings Delays for License Applicants," [Northwest Alabama] Times Daily, February 10, 2006. Online >
Associated Press, "Alabama puts brakes on license notification," Decatur Daily News, October 7, 2005; Online >
Read more about the Alabama mess here.

Breach of Veterans' Data Reveals Vulnerability of ID Information

Real ID would make this problem far worse by creating a "one-stop shop" for identity thieves.
"Technology and Easy Credit Give Identity Thieves an Edge," New York Times, May 30, 2006.

"ID Theft Made Easy," USA Today Editorial, May 24, 2006.

"Analysts: 'Real ID' Act Could Help ID Thieves," E-week, May 6, 2005.

Real ID Narrowly Dodges a Bullet in New Hampshire

New Hampshire Bill on Quitting Real ID Shows Act's Troubles

The State Senate narrowly defeated a measure that would have rejected the Real ID act. Passage would have seriously disrupted the unified national identity card system that proponents are hoping to create. Nevertheless, while Real ID continues to cling to life, having dodged a bullet in the Granite State, the act is still troubled and will remain so despite having survived its latest crisis.

Read the full statement of ACLU Technology and Liberty Project Director Barry Steinhardt here.

Sen. John E. Sununu, "Real ID: Unnecessary, Unfunded, and Unlikely to Make You Safer," Manchester Union Leader, May 17, 2006.

"A Missed Chance: Real ID Deserved Rejection," Union Leader Editorial, May 15, 2006.

"Mandate for ID Hits Resistance Among States," New York Times, May 6, 2006.

"Real ID Battle Takes on New Face in the Senate," Union Leader, May 5, 2006.

"ID Law Stirs Passionate Protest in N.H.," Washington Post, May 1, 2006.

"Senate Panel Unanimous Against Real ID," Union Leader, April 27, 2006.

"Real ID Protest is Right Stand to Take," Concord Monitor Editorial, April 26, 2006.

"Gov. Lynch Says He Will Sign Bill Opposing Real ID," Associated Press, April 26, 2006.

"Real ID Dealt Another Defeat in Legislature," Union Leader, April 26, 2006.

"N.H. Leads Revolt Against Real ID," Associated Press, April 25, 2006.

"This small state cannot be coerced or bribed into abandoning the principles embodied in its state motto," said Neal Kurk, one of the bill's Repbulican sponsors. He urged lawmakers to fire "a shot that will be heard around the nation." Online >

New Hampshire House bill prohibiting the state from participating in Real ID
New Hampshire Senate resolution opposing Real ID and calling for its repeal.


National Conference of State Legislatures Head Says Real ID Comes at "Too High a Price"

NCSL Executive Director William T. Pound writes, "...Federal legislators and rule makers are negating state driver's license security efforts, imposing difficult-to-comply-with mandates and limiting their flexibility to address new concerns as they arise. In other words, decades of state experience is being substituted for a 'command and control regime' from a level of government that has no driver's license regulatory experience."

"Real ID; Real Questions," Stateline.org, February 24, 2006. Online >
The NCSL's February "Recess Alert" on Real ID: Online >

Computer Problems Already Causing Long Waits For Drivers

The Birmingham News is reporting that driver's license applicants in Alabama and other states are already being subject to long waits and repeat visits due to cross-database checks of the kind that are mandated by Real ID. One official told the newspaper:

"I can tell you people are spending a full day here. . . We are getting a backlash from parents who have to stay here with a 16-year-old applying for his license. It blows a whole day, and the vast majority of people have taken a day off work."
"New License System Slows Drivers Nationwide," The Birmingham News, February 23, 2006. Online >

Security Experts Say Real ID Won't Stop Terrorism

At the RSA Conference in San Jose, CA, the consensus among security experts was that Real ID would be ineffective as a tool against terrorism, and would be huge waste of money and resources.

Security Focus
, February 17, 2006. Online >

Real ID Act Faces Real Challenges

"Opposition is building against the Real ID Act requirement that, among other things, forces states to standardize driver licenses. Many at the state level fear that the under-funded, aggressive mandate will be overly burdensome and difficult to meet. At least one coalition of privacy-concerned groups fear the new rules, in development now, could force states to include RFID chips on their driver licenses."

More from SecureID News, January 31, 2006. Online >

DMVs Nationwide Say Real ID Will Be a Real Nightmare to Implement

Newly uncovered documents reveal that state officials believe that federal legislation called the Real ID Act will require extensive changes to existing practices at motor vehicles departments, will be extremely difficult to implement by the Act's deadline, and will carry heavy expenses.

The survey, which was unveiled by the Associated Press, was conducted by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, apparently to take a sounding of the states' challenges and readiness for tackling compliance with the federal Real ID mandate. The states' responses reveal widespread concern about various provisions of the Act, and a general skepticism that implementation will even be possible by the 2008 federal deadline.

AP Story (January 12, 2006); Online >
Learn more about the AAMVA survey here.
Find your state's response to the AAMVA survey here.

Virginia Task Force Calls on Congress to Revise Real ID

A task force assembled by Virginia Governor Mark Warner to study the impact of implementing Real ID in the state warned that it would "have significant financial impact on the Commonwealth," and that every ID applicant "will have to wait in line much longer at the DMV, and provide significantly more paperwork." The task force also warned about dangers to privacy, and urged Congress to revise Real ID.
Virginia Real ID Task Force report (December 29, 2005)

New York City Council Resolution Denounces Real ID

The NYC Coucil has passed a resolution denouncing Real ID for imposing "onerous burdens on states to develop new technology for data collection and document verification, while providing no financial support," and asking New York State to opt out of the program.
Daniella Gerson, "Council to State: Opt Out of Law Barring Illegal Immigrants from Driver's Licenses." New York Sun; December 23, 2005; Online >

Republican Mike Huckabee, Chairman of the National Governors Association, Opposes Real ID

"The federal government doesn't have the guts to put out a national ID card, and they are trying to make 50 states come up with this program. Congress is now asking the states to make every driver's license a national ID card, or passport. It's absurd. The cost to the states will be staggering."
Deborah Solomon, "Questions for Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee," New York TImes Magazine, August 7, 2005; Online >

Governors Project Skyrocketting Costs at Annual Meeting

At the National Governors Association annual meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, governors blasted the federal government for passing off the costs of the Real ID Act to the states. Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico called the law "a shortsighted, ill-conceived initiative,’’ and promised that the governors would challenge it in court.
Associated Press, "Driver's License Costs will Skyrocket, Governors Warn," Des Moines Register, June 18, 2005; Online >
See the NGA press release on Real ID here.

Washington State Estimates High Costs for Implementing Real ID

The State Department of Licensing put the initial costs for implementing Real ID at $50 million a year, and also indicated that fees for obtaining licenses would have to be raised. Department of Licensing Press Release (May 17, 2005); Online >

Click here for updates on Washington State.

States Blast Real ID Act

States are threatening to challenge in court and even disobey new orders from Congress to start issuing more uniform driver's licenses and verify the citizenship or legal status of people getting them.
Suzanne Gamboa, "Senator Slams New Driver's License Rules," Associated Press and SFGate, May 10, 2005; Online >

ACLU

Comments:
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Good News indeed! I hope the Silent Majority will wake up before its too late.
 
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