Proposed bill in General Assembly urges Congress to repeal Real ID

Richmond, VA – The Department of Homeland Security today released its new Real ID regulations, which appear to simply dump the problems of the much maligned statute on future administrations – and not just the next one, but the administration of whoever is president as far away as 2017.
“If you read between the lines of the DHS regulations, the one consistent message is that this poorly conceived law simply cannot be implemented,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis. “In the future, we may look back on this as the moment when the movement to repeal the Real ID law really began.”
Passed by Congress in 2005 the Real ID Act requires states to issue a federally-approved ID, almost all of which will be in the form of drivers’ licenses, and for the data contained in the IDs to be placed in a national database. The IDs will be required for air travel and to access many federal facilities. DHS has been promising regulations for several years to make it clear to states how the broad mandates of the law are to be implemented.
Under Governor Mark Warner, Virginia became the first state to study the impact of the Real ID Act. Warner’s Real ID Task Force issued a report in December 2005 questioning the cost, practicality, and effectiveness of the law, and expressing concerns about the loss of privacy rights and increased opportunities for identity theft.
Twelve states have passed resolutions asking Congress to repeal or delay Real ID, and eight have passed laws stating they will not comply with the law.
In Virginia, Delegate Christopher K. Peace has introduced the first Virginia bill opposing Real ID. HJ 42 asks Congress to repeal Real ID or to delay it until funds are available from the federal government to cover the costs of implementation and the statute is amended to make certain that the privacy rights of all citizens are protected.
“What is most important now is for the states to make it clear that Real ID must be repealed,” said Willis. “Virginia’s lawmakers need to speak up now by passing HJ 42.”
The DHS regulations can be found online at: http://www.dhs.gov/xprevprot/laws/gc_1172765386179.shtm. The ACLU summary of the most significant aspects of the regulations can be found online at http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/33639res20080111.html.

Contact: Kent Willis, Executive Director, 804/644-8022

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