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  Comments (3) Total Sunday Apr. 20, 2014
New Governor, Same Stalemate
Like I was Sayin....
Homeland Security officials recently told Montana that the licenses and identification cards it issues do not comply with a number of federal rules implemented by 2005’s REAL ID Act. Gov. Steve Bullock disagrees. And if this all sounds familiar, it should, since we’ve been waging this battle for several years.

If you recall, former Gov. Brian Schweitzer famously fired a shotgun at clay pigeons branded with a federal license in a 2008 re-election campaign ad. That same year, he wrote a letter to 17 other governors to resist the changes. It read, in part:

“Today, I am asking you to join with me in resisting the DHS coercion to comply with the provisions of REAL ID. If we stand together either DHS will blink or Congress will have to act to avoid havoc at our nation’s airports and federal courthouses.”

At the time, Homeland Security said it wouldn’t blink and apparently it wasn’t lying. Six years have passed since Schweitzer wrote that letter, and the federal government is now gradually enforcing parts of the REAL ID Act. What does that mean, exactly? Well, initially, not much if you don’t work for the federal government.

According to the DHS website, beginning this year, a Montana ID will no longer pass muster to gain access into Department of Homeland Security headquarters. That doesn’t sound so bad. I’m not sure why anyone would want to visit that place. And I assume employees there have a passport or another form of ID to gain access.

But it gets worse from there. Also in 2014, enforcement is scheduled to expand to restricted areas at other federal facilities and nuclear power plants. Then, in 2015, those not carrying a federal-government approved card will be semi-restricted at all federal facilities. Then, in 2016, it gets really bad.

DHS has said the final phase of enforcing the REAL ID Act could begin that year (at the earliest), and if it does our state IDs won’t allow us to board a commercial flight. So Bullock should be concerned. He sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, arguing that Montana’s licenses are secure and raising questions about the federal program.

He wrote: “In addition to the excessive cost of creating a national database, Montanans are appropriately concerned with the extensive collection of their personal and private information by the government.”

In 2007, the Montana Legislature unanimously passed a bill that forbids the implementation of REAL ID in the state. You read that clearly – every Democrat and Republican in the state Legislature opposed the federal law. And this stance should be viewed as more than “state’s rights” grandstanding.

While there is disagreement over whether REAL ID is a precursor to a national ID card, there are real privacy concerns raised by more than a dozen states that are reluctant to abide by the program. And those should be taken more seriously in this age of abusive spying.

Ohio, which originally signaled it would abide by the new rules, recently had a change of heart. Joe Andrews, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, told The Columbus Dispatch that state officials were concerned over the ‘one driver-one license’ rule, which many state are complying with using facial-recognition software, and requirements to store sensitive documents.

“People have concerns we are trampling their rights if we do this,” Andrews said.

At the least, REAL ID will require additional documents to renew your driver’s license, making you spend more time at the DMV. At the most, it is a major threat to citizens’ rights. Either way, there must be a better way to fight the war on terror while at once preserving state’s rights.
On 01-31-14, mooseberryinn commented....
If you read the article, no doubt you will notice the enforcement of the law is just now beginning.  Under the current regime of the Liar King.  But it is kinda funny when some states will issue driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.  All things considered, it’s…
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