February 20, 2008

REAL (Ugly) ID

Analysis: States fall into line on REAL ID
by Shaun Waterman, Washington (UPI) Feb 18, 2007
All but six states have complied with federal requirements to seek an extension of the deadline they face for implementing more secure driver licenses for U.S. citizens or legal residents only under the REAL ID Act.
[...] New Jersey filed for an extension after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff personally called Gov. Jon Corzine, according to one account.
Of the six states that have so far not filed, only Delaware was expected to ask for an extension by the May deadline, according to Brian Zimmer, president of the non-profit lobby group Coalition for a Secure Driver's License.
Zimmer said the governors of Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and South Carolina "appear to have turned their face against implementing the law" -- setting their citizens up for additional document requirements at airports and federal buildings.
[...] Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, in a statement quietly posted on her Web site last month, said her state was also keeping its options open.
"I will not allow for confusion and chaos at our busy airports," she said, calling the new federal regulations on REAL ID "ambiguous."
[...] Zimmer said citizens of the five hold-out states faced a "nightmare" in May.
"These governors have not told their citizens what will happen," he said. "They have not told them they will have to go out and get passports" or some other federal ID. "This will hit pretty hard in Oklahoma and South Carolina" he said, pointing out that those states were business centers.
The Department of Justice and the General Services Administration, which runs federal buildings, have yet to draw up regulations governing what will happen to defendants and others with a legal right to appear in court if they are unable to present other identity documents. But the Transportation Security Administration, part of Homeland Security, will not allow people to board planes unless they have other identification, said Keehner.

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