Idaho is one step closer to delaying full implementation of federal Real ID requirements, regulations legislators originally swore off in 2008.
The House Transportation and Defense Committee approved legislation Monday to ask the Department of Homeland Security for a one-year extension to comply with the federal regulations. The bill also asks the Idaho Transportation Department to study the issue and report how much the state would have to spend to come into full compliance.
If Idaho doesn’t comply or receive a waiver by Jan. 1, 2016, residents won’t be able to use Gem State drivers licenses to access federal facilities, including military bases, the Idaho National Laboratory near Arco or the White House. Noncompliance would also likely keep Idahoans from passing through airport security.
Residents could, however, use passports, military cards or other federally approved identification to clear security checks.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, received unanimous approval, even though it doesn’t guarantee the federal government will accept the delay.
“Nothing is known for sure,” Palmer said.
No one’s certain what Idaho would need to do to comply with the federal regulations, if lawmakers eventually choose that route. Palmer said the biggest requirement could deal with how the state handles birth certificates.
If Idaho eventually complies, taxpayers would foot the bill, up to $30 million, Palmer said. ITD has worked outside of the federal regulations to improve drivers license security, which Palmer previously told IdahoReporter.com could bring down compliance costs.
Legislators originally forbade ITD from complying in 2008, one of nine states to take that route. That effort was hardly a Republican push-back on federal overreach; rather, the bill passed both legislative chambers with unanimous support from members of both major parties.
Opposition to Real ID cut across the political spectrum in the think tank world, too. The American Civil Liberties Union lauded Idaho for being the second state to reject the rules, following only Maine in doing so. The ACLU opposed the initiative due to its huge cost to taxpayers and claimed the rules were overly invasive.
The libertarian Cato Institute, too, applauded Idaho for its stance, and praised the 2008 measure as one of the strongest in the nation.
Palmer said only 22 states have fully complied with Real ID. The others are in situations similar to Idaho's.
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