Article: Arizona Legislature Says No to Real ID
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. More