Several members of the Idaho House introduced on Friday a bill opposing the so-called Real ID, an unfunded Congressional mandate for nationwide specifications for drivers’ licenses.
While it seems unlikely that such a bill would be signed by Governor Butch Otter — who was one of the 140 sponsors of the bill when he was in Congress — the bipartisan effort is sponsored by three members of the House: Phil Hart, R-Athol, Liz Chavez, D-Lewiston, and Cliff Bayer, R-Boise – along with Sen. Russ Fulcher, who like Bayer is a Republican from District 21. The bill has been moved to the Transportation committee, where Hart is vice-chairman, and will be heard on Wednesday at 1:30 pm.
The bill claims that the Real ID would cost Idaho $36 million to implement, with ongoing costs of $2 million per year.
The bill is a “joint memorial,” which means it has no force of law. It is typically used to send a message of support — or dissent — to the federal government. In this particular case, the bill supports the goal of improved national security but expresses concern about the cost of the program, as well as the infringement on Idaho citizens’ civil rights.
In addition, a panel discussion was scheduled to be held today in the Gold Room at the Statehouse including representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Conference of State Legislators, the CATO Institute, and the Idaho bureau of the Department of Homeland Security.
The Real ID, which is being opposed by more than 30 states, including Montana, defines a number of requirements for driver’s licenses, including a digital photo, various features intended to keep it from being duplicated, and could potentially include a radio frequency ID chip. In addition, it requires states to link their record-keeping systems to national databases. People who live in states that do not comply with the act will not be able to use their driver’s licenses for boarding an airplane, entering a federal building, or opening some bank accounts.