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Maine says 'No' to Real ID Act

  Law Center  -   POSTED: 2007/01/26 17:26

Both the Maine House of Representatives and Senate approved a joint resolution Thursday refusing to implement the federal Real ID Act. The resolution had broad support across both parties, with the House of Representatives approving the resolution 137-4 and the Senate 34-0. The federal act, scheduled to take effect in 2008, mandates that state governments require birth certificates or similar documentation and also consult national immigration databases before issuing IDs, which will have to comply with standards established by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The Real ID Act is facing similar state legislative oppositions in Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, and Washington. The Bush administration has repeatedly endorses the act, saying that it will discourage illegal immigration and make it more difficult for terrorists to fraudulently obtain US driver's licenses and other government IDs.

State lawmakers, governors, and privacy advocates have express concerns about implementing the federal law, with many objecting to the expensive undertaking required for state compliance and privacy concerns associated with the federal requirements. In December 2005, the National Governor's Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, collectively released a report concluding that states are unprepared to implement the law and may need up to eight years to acquire the resources and time to successfully enact the legislation.


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