UPDATE 1/17/2104: Gov. Bullock's response to DHS.
Governor Steve Bullock sent a strong message to the Department of Homeland Security yesterday, saying Montana will not cave in to pressure to comply with the REAL ID Act.
"You know, as attorney general I said no to [the REAL ID Act], the legislature said 'no' to it. The legislature was unanimous. As governor, we continue to say that we have one of the safest IDs in the nation. We've taken solid steps to improve the security of the driver's license," Bullock said. "We don't need a national ID card, we don't need more data being collected."
Bullock's comments were in response to a letter from Homeland Security warning that if Montana does not comply, Montana drivers licenses will not be acceptable identification for entering federal facilities or boarding airplanes.
Homeland Security has been pushing the national REAL ID program since 2005, and states have been fighting back ever since, with Montana leading the charge. At least 15 states have refused to become REAL ID compliant , and the federal government’s only solution under the statute is to bar citizens of those states from using their driver’s licenses to pass airport security. Because of that Real ID has stalled. The government can’t allow the air travel pandemonium that would cause. Deadline after deadline has been pushed back. The latest letter lists staggered deadlines from December of this year to 2017.
REAL ID is a real nightmare. It would be the creation of a national ID card that would increase the threat of identity theft and enable routine tracking of people. It would also cost billions of dollars for states to implement.
We applaud Gov. Bullock for resisting bullying from DHS on this issue.