6/13/2008Arizona Legislature Says No to Real ID
Arizona legislature votes by overwhelming margin to oppose federal efforts to turn driving licenses into a national ID card.
The Arizona state legislature has made it quite clear that it wants nothing to do with the federal Real ID drivers' license plan. Lawmakers on Wednesday sent a bill to the governor prohibiting the state from implementing the proposed national ID card program. The legislation had sailed through the state House on a 51-1 vote after clearing the state Senate last month by a 21-7 vote.
The federal Real ID Act was designed to force states to use their drivers' licenses to create a form of national identity card. The Department of Homeland Security has threatened to deny access to airline travel to residents from states that fail to adopt the national ID standards. Arizona lawmakers took issue with this and included a provision that requires state officials to report any attempts at coercion by DHS employees over Real ID.
It is uncertain whether Governor Janet Napolitano (D) will sign the bill. Last year, Napolitano moved to create a driver's license that complies with Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative standards as a precursor to compliance with Real ID.
"Arizona has been a leader among the states on issues related to border security and immigration," Napolitano said in a 2007 statement. "My hope is that this project will lead to an effective permanent program that can be implemented nationwide."
DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff praised Napolitano's initiative.
"I applaud the leadership of the state of Arizona who came forward to join us in our effort to bolster security through secure identification," Chertoff said. "This partnership helps us strike the right balance between security and facilitation, incorporating 21st century technology and innovation."
The legislature passed the Real ID ban by a margin sufficient to override a veto attempt by the governor.
Article Excerpt:Text of legislation --
State of Arizona
House of Representatives
Second Regular Session 2008
HOUSE BILL 2677
AN ACT amending title 28, chapter 2, article 2, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding section 28-336; relating to the REAL ID Act of 2005.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Title 28, chapter 2, article 2, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 28-336, to read:
28-336. REAL ID act; implementation prohibited
This state shall not participate in the implementation of the REAL ID act of 2005 (P.L. 109-13, Division B; 119 Stat. 302). The department shall not implement the REAL ID act of 2005 and shall report to the governor and the legislature any attempt by agencies or agents of the United States DEPARTMENT of homeland security to secure the implementation of the REAL ID act of 2005 through the operations of the United States department of homeland security.