Move on Real ID

It’s hard to believe the state Legislature is still arguing over something as simple as the Real ID bill. The Real ID is a state government issued ID — a drivers license or state photo ID — that conforms with new federal guidelines that really aren’t new anymore. Enacted in 2005, the federal Real ID law sets up certain requirements for extra security and proof of citizenship for state-issued IDs that will be acceptable to the federal government for such actions as boarding airplanes, entering federal facilities or nuclear power plants. Minnesota has been thumbing its nose at this law since 2009, when it passed a law forbidding state agencies from making plans for the ID.
The issue became a hot one last year when it appeared holders of Minnesota drivers licenses might not be able to board an airplane with a state license. The issue became less urgent when the feds said they wouldn’t start enforcing that until January 2018.
Even with the knowledge, some in the Legislature are being stubborn. Apparently they believe the Real ID?is the slippery slope to the government collecting extra information on us all for some nefarious purpose. The latest debate this week was a demand that people be allowed to opt out of the Real ID and keep their old licenses. Another concern is that it would cost about $5 million to implement the Real ID?plan, if we do it by the 2018 deadline. Some legislators want to ease into it to save the money it would take to quickly upgrade the state ID system.
It’s time for the state to move ahead on this issue. There’s no real good argument for putting it off.

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