Hmmmm.... You need a federally approved drivers license to enter federal buildings. I didnt make that up - "Otherwise, the government won't accept their license for boarding airplanes or entering federal buildings." I guess its not a "drivers license" its an "internal passport"
States get more time on ID rules
WASHINGTON - States will get extra time to implement a law passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to make driver's licenses more secure.
Under pressure from some states, including Arizona, the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday pushed back the May 2008 deadline. States will have until the end of 2009, if needed, to change their systems to comply with the Real ID Act.
Congress passed the act in 2005 to make driver's licenses less vulnerable to fraud and identity theft.
By Jan. 1, 2010, applicants for new licenses or identification cards will need to prove their identity, date of birth, address, citizenship or legal status, as well as their Social Security number. Otherwise, the government won't accept their license for boarding airplanes or entering federal buildings.
All drivers will have to get licenses that comply with the rules by May 2013, even if their licenses haven't expired, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said.
Rules would hike ID costs
Drivers by May 2013 may have to pay over $40 extra for a license under a regulation proposed Thursday that extends a federal deadline for new security standards.
The Homeland Security Department agreed to give states an extra 18 months to comply with the new rules requiring them to better verify identities and issue more-secure licenses to thwart terrorism.
The federal government will cover a small part of the cost of issuing the more-secure driver's licenses and state IDs. States will pay the rest.
Authorities say the rules mean that most drivers would pay $20 more for licenses than they do now.
But state officials say the true cost probably would be over $40.
In Arizona, where license pictures need to be updated every 12 years and licenses do not expire until age 65, fees now are staggered based on age, according to the Motor Vehicle Division. Drivers ages 16 to 39 pay the most for a license: $25.
The price drops by $5 for each of the next three age brackets, with those 50 and older paying $10.
Those who do not get new licenses by May 2013 will be denied boarding on airplanes and access to federal buildings.
Officials in many states object to specifics of the law, which will cost about $11 billion over five years to implement.
State money will pay most of that cost, but Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said states can use up to 20 percent of their federal homeland security grants to cover Real ID-related expenses. That would amount to about $100 million this year but only $36 million under President Bush's proposed fiscal 2008 budget.
Legislatures in 19 states, including Arizona, are considering resolutions refusing to obey the law.
"You've got to ask are we getting $11 billion in real improvement in identifying citizens and so forth, or is this just yet another feel-good piece of legislation at inordinate cost to the states that, in the end, all it's going to do is raise the price of the average driver's license for the average American?" said Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat who heads the National Governor's Association.
Chertoff said the law is worth the price if it improves safety.
"This is going to involve money," Chertoff said. "It's going to cost money, because security costs money, and I daresay it's money well spent."
The proposed regulations are set to become final after a 60-day comment period.
The 9/11 Commission recommended federal standards for licenses in its report issued nearly three years ago.
As states redesign their licenses to comply with the law, those that border Canada or Mexico may be able to incorporate additional security features so the licenses also comply with proposed regulations to require passports or passportlike cards to cross land borders, Chertoff said.
Privacy advocates have raised concerns about Real ID, saying it could make it easier for personal information to leak from databases.
Civil rights groups object because only citizens or immigrants with legal permission to be in the country could get licenses.
"The Real ID act is absolutely unimplementable," said Timothy Sparapani, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "It cannot be fixed."