January 25, 2007 2:33 PM PST

Maine rejects Real ID Act

Maine overwhelmingly rejected federal requirements for national identification cards on Thursday, marking the first formal state opposition to controversial legislation scheduled to go in effect for Americans next year.

Both chambers of the Maine legislature approved a resolution saying the state flatly "refuses" to force its citizens to use driver's licenses that comply with digital ID standards, which were established under the 2005 Real ID Act. It asks the U.S. Congress to repeal the law.

The vote represents a political setback for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Republicans in Washington, D.C., which have argued that nationalized ID cards for all Americans would help in the fight against terrorists.

"I have faith that the Democrats in Congress will hear this from many states and will find a way to repeal or amend this in the coming months," House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat, said in a telephone interview after the vote. "It's not only a huge federal mandate, but it's a huge mandate from the federal government asking us to do something we don't have any interest in doing."

The Real ID Act says that, starting around May 2008, Americans will need a federally approved ID card--a U.S. passport will also qualify--to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, collect Social Security payments or take advantage of nearly any government service. States will have to conduct checks of their citizens' identification papers, and driver's licenses likely will be reissued to comply with Homeland Security requirements.

In addition, the national ID cards must be "machine-readable," with details left up to Homeland Security, which hasn't yet released final regulations. That could end up being a magnetic strip, an enhanced bar code or radio frequency identification (RFID) chips.

The votes in Maine on the resolution were nonpartisan. It was approved by a 34-to-0 vote in the state Senate and by a 137-to-4 vote in the House of Representatives.

Other states are debating similar measures. Bills pending in Georgia, Massachusetts, Montana and Washington state express varying degrees of opposition to the Real ID Act.

Montana's is one of the strongest. The legislature held a hearing on Wednesday on a bill that says "The state of Montana will not participate in the implementation of the Real ID Act of 2005" and directs the state motor vehicle department "not to implement the provisions."

Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Project, said he thinks Maine's vote will "break the logjam, and other states are going to follow." (The American Civil Liberties Union has set up an anti-Real ID Web site called Real Nightmare).

Pingree, Maine's House majority leader, said the Real ID Act would have cost the state $185 million over five years and required every state resident to visit the motor vehicle agency so that several forms of identification--including an original copy of the birth certificate and a Social Security card--would be uploaded into a federal database.

Growing opposition to the law in the states could create a political pickle for the Bush administration. The White House has enthusiastically embraced the Real ID Act, saying it (click for PDF) "facilitates the strengthening by the states of the standards for the security and integrity of drivers' licenses."

But if a sufficient number of states follow Maine's lead, pressure would increase on a Democratic Congress to relax the Real ID rules--or even rescind them entirely.

A key Republican supporter of the Real ID Act said Thursday that the law was just as necessary now as when it was enacted as part of an $82 billion military spending and tsunami relief bill. (Its backers say it follows the recommendations that the 9/11 Commission made in 2004.)

"Real ID is needed to protect the American people from terrorists who use drivers licenses to board planes, get jobs and move around the country as the 9/11 terrorists did," Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said in an e-mailed statement. "It makes sense to have drivers licenses that ensure a person is who they say they are. It makes the country safer and protects the American people from terrorists who would use the most common form of ID as cover."

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54 comments

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Must be time to move to Maine
Finally, some politicians with backbone. Good for Maine!
Posted by wfseube (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yup
I agree completely, but i was planning on moving out of the US, maybe the AU they dont seem to corrupt
Posted by ZombiePenguin (4 comments )
Link Flag
Must be time to move to Maine
Finally, some politicians with backbone. Good for Maine!
Posted by wfseube (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yup
I agree completely, but i was planning on moving out of the US, maybe the AU they dont seem to corrupt
Posted by ZombiePenguin (4 comments )
Link Flag
Might have to move back
Left Maine because of the cold, will have to see what Fl will do on this. I will say this.. I'd rather suffer in zero degree weather than have a national ID that the homeland security will use to intimidate me. Really bothers me when I hear fellow citizens speak of homeland security with a bit of fear in their voice, maybe they should get it over with and get the SS shoulder patch. oh oh better not talk like that might get sent to Cuba.... Seriously, an all powerful group is a bad thing, it's what lead to WW2.
Posted by Arrgster (92 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Might have to move back
Left Maine because of the cold, will have to see what Fl will do on this. I will say this.. I'd rather suffer in zero degree weather than have a national ID that the homeland security will use to intimidate me. Really bothers me when I hear fellow citizens speak of homeland security with a bit of fear in their voice, maybe they should get it over with and get the SS shoulder patch. oh oh better not talk like that might get sent to Cuba.... Seriously, an all powerful group is a bad thing, it's what lead to WW2.
Posted by Arrgster (92 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What's wrong with this...
we should all support our great country!!!
All salute our great Fuhrers Dick n Bush
Posted by pppsu4 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What's wrong with this...
we should all support our great country!!!
All salute our great Fuhrers Dick n Bush
Posted by pppsu4 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
See state run..
See state run.
Run state run.
see feds punish state.
See state enact REAL_ID.
Good state good.

I always thought that New Hampshire would have been the first too..
Posted by Solaris_User (267 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hmm...
Actually, it looks like NH *was* first, according to the wikipedia article. Though if nobody adds Maine soon, I will :)
Posted by Hardrada (359 comments )
Link Flag
See state run..
See state run.
Run state run.
see feds punish state.
See state enact REAL_ID.
Good state good.

I always thought that New Hampshire would have been the first too..
Posted by Solaris_User (267 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hmm...
Actually, it looks like NH *was* first, according to the wikipedia article. Though if nobody adds Maine soon, I will :)
Posted by Hardrada (359 comments )
Link Flag
The hammer of truth.
Also if you do get a REAL_ID card, wrap it in a cloth and give it a few wacks with your faverote hammer.

No more RFID.

"Gee.. I must have droped my card.."
Posted by Solaris_User (267 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The hammer of truth.
Also if you do get a REAL_ID card, wrap it in a cloth and give it a few wacks with your faverote hammer.

No more RFID.

"Gee.. I must have droped my card.."
Posted by Solaris_User (267 comments )
Reply Link Flag
a volunteer federal id ?
What if it was left to choice... I have to travel for work and would
welcome some sort of id that reflects the fact I have been through
numerous security and background checks.

I agree with the other comments regarding the "Papers Please"
mentality of our current gestapo...
Posted by ihatetv (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Too many sticks
Remember, the 55 MPH speed limit was "voluntary" on the parts of the states
Posted by rpmyers1 (15 comments )
Link Flag
a volunteer federal id ?
What if it was left to choice... I have to travel for work and would
welcome some sort of id that reflects the fact I have been through
numerous security and background checks.

I agree with the other comments regarding the "Papers Please"
mentality of our current gestapo...
Posted by ihatetv (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Too many sticks
Remember, the 55 MPH speed limit was "voluntary" on the parts of the states
Posted by rpmyers1 (15 comments )
Link Flag
Real Id
Time to move to Maine - this id is based on nothing more than paranoia
Posted by ladyfaith (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Federal run State ID
States objected at first for that simple reason. It was the federal
level running the State program of license Department and ID
cards. The seperation of Federal and State is being violated by
this program. Mind you ALL states are interlinked. All
databases (government,only they say) are interlinked so they can
pull up records on John Doe when he gets pulled over for
speeding. They know he lives at 123 Main Street in Any Town
USA, lived off School Street before; Now they have his Video
rentals, see he likes to rent adult movies, look up his magazine's
he orders, and have his flight records as well.

I don't see that too har out of grasp for the No Such Agency boys
who are very apt to abuse this feature to "keep this country safe"
as they claim the J edgar hoover wire taps they still do today are
a safety method.
Posted by Travis Ernst (170 comments )
Link Flag
Real Id
Time to move to Maine - this id is based on nothing more than paranoia
Posted by ladyfaith (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Federal run State ID
States objected at first for that simple reason. It was the federal
level running the State program of license Department and ID
cards. The seperation of Federal and State is being violated by
this program. Mind you ALL states are interlinked. All
databases (government,only they say) are interlinked so they can
pull up records on John Doe when he gets pulled over for
speeding. They know he lives at 123 Main Street in Any Town
USA, lived off School Street before; Now they have his Video
rentals, see he likes to rent adult movies, look up his magazine's
he orders, and have his flight records as well.

I don't see that too har out of grasp for the No Such Agency boys
who are very apt to abuse this feature to "keep this country safe"
as they claim the J edgar hoover wire taps they still do today are
a safety method.
Posted by Travis Ernst (170 comments )
Link Flag
Let's cut the B.S.
Start with PREVENTING the so called terrorist from ENTERING the
good ol USofA. Then we don't have to be concerned with the INNER
workings of It's Citizens.

-'See Dick hide? See how well Dick hides. That's because Dick hides
behind the BUSH!'
Posted by appletoys (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
fed's need to stay out of states business
I think it B.S. that the fed's pass a law requiring a digital id. I live in texas and I recently got my texas driver license sqitched from vt. It was a pain to get it switched because they want a valid photo id, social security card and one other piecce of id. that is texas other states have there own requirements, but my point is the fed's should stop trying to run the states.

Also if they want us to get digital id's then the fed's should pay for it not us decent hard working americans. everyone does not make billions of dollars a year like BILL GATES.
Posted by knight2448 (13 comments )
Link Flag
Let's cut the B.S.
Start with PREVENTING the so called terrorist from ENTERING the
good ol USofA. Then we don't have to be concerned with the INNER
workings of It's Citizens.

-'See Dick hide? See how well Dick hides. That's because Dick hides
behind the BUSH!'
Posted by appletoys (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
fed's need to stay out of states business
I think it B.S. that the fed's pass a law requiring a digital id. I live in texas and I recently got my texas driver license sqitched from vt. It was a pain to get it switched because they want a valid photo id, social security card and one other piecce of id. that is texas other states have there own requirements, but my point is the fed's should stop trying to run the states.

Also if they want us to get digital id's then the fed's should pay for it not us decent hard working americans. everyone does not make billions of dollars a year like BILL GATES.
Posted by knight2448 (13 comments )
Link Flag
Interesting Twist
Look for all terrorists and illegals to head for Maine now... (* CHUCKLE *)

Walt
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Interesting Twist
Look for all terrorists and illegals to head for Maine now... (* CHUCKLE *)

Walt
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Paranoia??
Nah...just the leviathans ever present need for total control, guised under the cloak of "It's for your own good"
Posted by greenman965 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Paranoia??
Nah...just the leviathans ever present need for total control, guised under the cloak of "It's for your own good"
Posted by greenman965 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is it all bad?
Yes and no --

I don't see a problem with verifying that you are who you say you are before getting a drivers license. Makes common sense to me.

Common standards to a drivers license makes sense (the drivers license is already the defacto "National ID"). State's change their DL license designs regularly (PA has changed design each time I've renewed for the last 15-20 years). To have a single, coherent layout and appearance between states only makes sense. The cop in New Jersey doesn't have to know what a New Mexico license looks like or whether it's a fake -- they should all be similar, identifiable and with the same "anti counterfeit" measures.

It wouldn't even have to cost a significant amount of $$ to implement the above. Have the feds give their design/layout template to the state and when a person goes to renew, they get the new layout instead of the old layout.

However -- RFID chip, bad, horrible, terrifying idea. Whether it's an DL, passport or credit card (the last two are already in use), I can see identity theft running rampant. People can already "clone" a cell phone or hack your PDA if you get too close to them -- how much longer before they are hacking RFID chips? (if they aren't already)

However, a machine readable card that only contains the same personal information that is already printed on the front of the card (ie., name, address, license number, etc) -- I don't see the issue. This is the same thing that is already on your credit/debit card. The info is already there, we're only complaining about the format (alphabet vs barcode vs magnetic strip).

However, the idea that every corner store can swipe the card and a shared national database of what/where/when you do something is created -- that is patently offensive. The card reader should only be available to airport security, customs, police, etc. And then, only to verify that the printed information on the front hasn't been tampered with and/or only to speed up processing (ie., rather than manually copying information from the front -- like if you get a speeding ticket)

No bars, video rentals, banks, hotels, etc., etc. No commercial use of the card reading technology at all.
Posted by dasman669 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is it all bad?
Yes and no --

I don't see a problem with verifying that you are who you say you are before getting a drivers license. Makes common sense to me.

Common standards to a drivers license makes sense (the drivers license is already the defacto "National ID"). State's change their DL license designs regularly (PA has changed design each time I've renewed for the last 15-20 years). To have a single, coherent layout and appearance between states only makes sense. The cop in New Jersey doesn't have to know what a New Mexico license looks like or whether it's a fake -- they should all be similar, identifiable and with the same "anti counterfeit" measures.

It wouldn't even have to cost a significant amount of $$ to implement the above. Have the feds give their design/layout template to the state and when a person goes to renew, they get the new layout instead of the old layout.

However -- RFID chip, bad, horrible, terrifying idea. Whether it's an DL, passport or credit card (the last two are already in use), I can see identity theft running rampant. People can already "clone" a cell phone or hack your PDA if you get too close to them -- how much longer before they are hacking RFID chips? (if they aren't already)

However, a machine readable card that only contains the same personal information that is already printed on the front of the card (ie., name, address, license number, etc) -- I don't see the issue. This is the same thing that is already on your credit/debit card. The info is already there, we're only complaining about the format (alphabet vs barcode vs magnetic strip).

However, the idea that every corner store can swipe the card and a shared national database of what/where/when you do something is created -- that is patently offensive. The card reader should only be available to airport security, customs, police, etc. And then, only to verify that the printed information on the front hasn't been tampered with and/or only to speed up processing (ie., rather than manually copying information from the front -- like if you get a speeding ticket)

No bars, video rentals, banks, hotels, etc., etc. No commercial use of the card reading technology at all.
Posted by dasman669 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
National ID
When someone makes an attempt to gain control over you, that is the first indication that they are going to abuse you.
Posted by wordnugget (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
National ID
When someone makes an attempt to gain control over you, that is the first indication that they are going to abuse you.
Posted by wordnugget (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Whole Picture--From the trenches
I have read all the comments. I am NOT a conspiracy theorist (except about the 'grassy knol". I have a few comments of my own:

After spending 14 years (1972-1986) in Law Enforcement, I can state with certainty that the ideas are RARELY really bad. The implementation is where we run into foul territory.

I don't object to a National ID. I object to a national ID that incorporates an RFID that can be read without your knowledge (speedpass, hotel key cards. etc)

Since I am a law-abiding citizen with police training, I know not to violate the laws of our country. (I do drive faster than I should sometimes, so I'm not perfect)

I would therefore, object to having someone able to tell where I was, without me knowing they were shadowing me. That is a violation of my 4th amendment rights, and possibly my 5th amendment rights as well.

Forcing me to have these technologies applied without my knowledge or approval annoys me. In reality, it is not the technology that concerns me, it is the power-hungry individuals who MIGHT misuse the technology, WITHOUT fear of reprisal, that I disrespect.

We live in different times than when I served and protected. Law Enforcement needs different tools today, because the threats and the players are different. As Juvenal wrote "Who Watches the Watchers?".

It is the watchers, empowered and shameless that I fear -- perhaps more than the terrorists.

I will continue to observe and protect, even without a badge -- but I'm not ready to be tracked, the tracking capabilities misused to turn me into a criminal. Not me, not my friends, not my neighbors. Freedom isn't free, but then, government misuse of technology isn't their freedom, their right, either.

Frank Taylor
Posted by FrankTaylor121950 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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