Another stupid idea
Making friends everywhere he goes
Mandate for ID Hits Resistance Among States
By PAM BELLUCK
Published: May 6, 2006
Reacting to the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress passed the Real ID law last year, intending to make it tougher for terrorists to obtain driver's licenses and for people without proper identification to board planes or enter federal buildings.
But with the deadline for setting up the law two years away, states are frustrated.
They say the law — which requires states to use sources like birth certificates and national immigration databases to verify that people applying for or renewing driver's licenses are American citizens or legal residents — will be too costly and difficult to put in place by the May 2008 deadline. Another issue is the privacy impact of the requirement that states share, through databases, the personal information needed for driver's licenses.
Concerns are so great that last week, the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators issued a report saying that the states have not been given the time or money to comply with the law and that they need at least another eight years. Two states have considered resolutions calling for the law to be repealed, the New York City Council passed a resolution opposing it, and New Hampshire is considering opting out entirely.
"It's absolutely absurd," said Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, chairman of the National Governors Association, which takes a stand on issues only when it has a broad consensus. "The time frame is unrealistic; the lack of funding is inexcusable."
Another concern, he said, is "whether this is a role that you really want to turn over to an entry-level, front-line, desk person at the D.M.V."
"If we're at a point that we need a national ID card, then let's do that," Mr. Huckabee added. "But let's not act like we're addressing this at a federal level and then blame the states if they mess it up. There's not a governor in America that wants that responsibility."
Some of the law's defenders, noting that some of the Sept. 11 hijackers had driver's licenses, say the states' complaints are unfounded.
"We passed a very workable, reasonable, common-sense piece of legislation," said Jeff Lungren, a spokesman for the law's main sponsor, Representative James F. Sensenbrenner Jr., the Wisconsin Republican who heads the Judiciary Committee. "The American people will not stand for and should not have to allow for some state bureaucracies that do not want to try and address this gaping security hole we have."
But critics among state lawmakers say problems with the law outweigh its value against terrorists and illegal immigrants. Grumbling has been quite loud in New Hampshire, where the state House overwhelmingly passed a bill to opt out of Real ID and the Senate voted Thursday to form a commission to study it. The chambers will reconcile their bills in coming weeks. Gov. John Lynch supports rejecting Real ID.
"There are unanswered concerns about privacy," said Pamela Walsh, a spokeswoman for Mr. Lynch, a Democrat. "There are a lot of questions about cost to states for implementing this, and there are the potential unintended consequences of turning our Department of Motor Vehicle workers into agents for the Department of Homeland Security."
Sensenbrenner got his stealth National ID passed when no one was looking and even then, when the states found out, there were unhappy. This, along with the criminalization of illegals, was to deny them work and force them back home.
Well, the states want no part of this, because it really expensive, time consuming, and may be litigation bait.
It is bad law and most states want any part of it.
posted by Steve @ 12:08:00 AM