Real ID Doesn't Fly In New Hampshire

After 9/11, the Real ID bill was passed by Congress, a measure that would 'standardize' drivers licenses across the nation and make it easier to track possible terrorists. But many of the states have decided that it smacks too much of a national ID card, something many see as the first step into restricting our rights and requiring 'papers' in order to travel from state to state. It also lays the burden of managing the requirements of the Real ID bill on the states, basically an unfunded mandate.

New Hampshire has been against Real ID for some time. Legislation that would have banned New Hampshire's participation in Real ID failed during the last legislative session. But the anti-Real ID legislation was resurrected this year (HB 685) and appears to be headed for passage. The bill passed the House, 268-8, and was sent to the Senate.

One thing that may assure the bills passage was an amendment passed 24-0 by the New Hampshire Senate that creates a line-of-duty death benefit for police officers and firefighters. In light of the death of two New Hampshire police officers over the past 8 months, the amendment has a lot of support. These two halves of the Real ID bill should have enough support for the New Hampshire House to pass the amended bill. Both of these issues are a sore spot with legislators and citizens on New Hampshire.

The national Real ID bill, passed in the wake of 9/11 terror attacks, directs states to adopt uniform procedures and document requirements for driver's licenses. The state bill, HB 685, would limit the data the state's Department of Safety could share with other states and the federal government on motor vehicle registrations and driver's licenses.

Sen. Peter Burling, D-Cornish, said no one testified against the Real ID measure at a public hearing, and those who favor keeping the state out of the program addressed a wide variety of reasons, from technology to privacy policies.

"It is clear that the Real ID idea the federal government has put forward was not completely thought out," he said.

Even our governor supports the bill, realizing that Real ID is a burden upon the taxpayers and state employees, and may well endanger the privacy of our citizens.

Real ID should die a much deserved death.

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