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08 May 2007 @ 02:45 pm
What Real ID is and why you should care  

2 years ago, our Esteemed President, George W. Bush signed the REAL ID Act of 2005 into law. What this means to you is that:

After December 31, 2009, "a Federal agency may not accept, for any official purpose, a driver's license or identification card issued by a state to any person unless the state is meeting the requirements" specified in the Real ID Act. States remain free to also issue non-complying licenses and ID's, so long as these have a unique design and a clear statement that they cannot be accepted for any Federal identification purpose. The federal Transportation Security Administration is responsible for security check-in at airports, so bearers of non-compliant documents would no longer be able to travel on common carrier aircraft.

In addition, the federal Social Security Administration, (42 U.S.C. § 666(28)), requires the States to maintain a new hire directory. Employers would no longer be able to accept, or ultimately hire, bearers of non-compliant documents for employment.

Also, financial institutions are required to assist the Federal Parent Locator Service, ((42 U.S.C. § 666(17)). Financial institutions would require compliant documents from all customers. Bearers of non-compliant documents would be denied financial or banking services. (Wikipedia)

So, sometime between May 11, 2008 and December 31, 2009 all existing ID's and Driver's Licenses will become invalid and will need to be replaced with a RealID. Despite the fact that Nevada doesn't have the budget or bureaucracy to actually handle the changeover, but rather than protest the bill, the NV government seems content to complain about the logistics of making it work. (LV Business Press) "Gov. Jim Gibbons has requested $30 million in his proposed budget to implement the Real ID Act over the coming two years. The money would allow the state to hire 196 additional DMV employees and keep key offices open as long as 12 hours per day. The average wait time at a DMV in Nevada last year was 56 minutes." (LVRJ)

In order to get one of these fancy new things and renew them, everyone will need to provide the following in person:
  • A photo ID, or a non-photo ID that includes full legal name and birthdate.
  • Documentation of birthdate.
  • Documentation of legal status and Social Security numbe
  • Documentation showing name and principal residence address.

Digital images of each identity document will be stored in each state DMV database. The cards will have to be renewed at least every 8 years, but states may decide on a shorter renewal period if they wish. By law, a person would have to physically appear in a government office ever 16 years to get a new card, but this period is likely to be much shorter in practice.

So far, the only states to actually oppose the law's adoption are New Hampshire, Maine, Idaho, Arkansas, Hawaii, Washington and Montana. Georgia, Massachusetts and South Carolina have opposition legislation pending. Regardless of this, the federal government has numerous ways of making states comply with its wishes. Chief amongst these forms of coercion is the withholding of federal highway money. Thus, protesting the RealID is a political and rhetorical sort of thing in the final analysis, but that doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile.

Further reading: