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Maine Lawmakers: Would Refuse To Implement ID Program January 26, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP)–The Maine Legislature declared that it would refuse a congressional order to change its drivers’ licenses so they can serve as national identification cards.

Supporters of Thursday’s nonbinding resolution – called the first of its kind in the nation – say the federal program would invite identity theft and cost Maine taxpayers $185 million over the first five years.

The resolution, which passed 34-0 in the Senate and 137-4 in the House, says the Legislature “refuses to implement the Real ID Act of 2005” and asks Congress to repeal it. The act takes effect next year.

Copies of the resolution were to be sent to President George W. Bush, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and other federal and state officials.

The Real ID Act passed after it was found that Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists had obtained legitimate driver’s licenses. The law will link state records to a central database and seeks to unify the patchwork of state licensing rules, making it harder to obtain a card fraudulently. Now, Chertoff says, people cross borders with hundreds of kinds of IDs.

State licenses that fail to meet Real ID’s standards won’t be able to be used to board an airplane or enter a federal building.

In August, the National Conference of State Legislatures demanded that Congress either find a way to pay for the Real ID Act or repeal it. Officials in several states have complained that the law will cost them tens of millions of dollars to implement, far more than the federal government has estimated.

At the time, Chertoff sought to ease worries about the law, saying there was no intent to create a “big brother” approach or create a federal database of drivers’ personal information.


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