N.H. Says Real ID 'Repugnant'

States are increasingly opposing the federal Real ID Act, according to an article posted today by The New Standard.

The New Hampshire House Transportation Committee unanimously voted Tuesday to pass out a bill that "would prohibit the state’s participation in the Real ID program and any similar federal initiative in the future. The one-page bill, which now goes to the full House, states that Real ID 'is contrary and repugnant,'" reports The New Standard. An opinion piece published this month in New Hampshire's Concord Monitor argues against the Real ID law.

Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 to tighten national security by requiring states to invest in data systems and processes that would make it harder to forge or fraudulently apply for state drivers licenses. The new licenses will eventually be required to board planes; enter federal government offices, including courthouses; and receive federal assistance and benefits, including Social Security.

State officials argue the law does not increase security, puts individuals' privacy at risk and costs too much. The Department of Homeland Security, assigned to oversee the implementation of the law, estimates the cost to states to be more than $14 billion over 10 years. A DHS official said yesterday that states' privacy concerns over Real ID are misplaced and that the law will improve privacy. DHS released this month the Real ID proposed rules that states must follow to comply with the Real ID law.

New Hampshire follows Maine, which in January, "became the first state to pass anti-Real ID legislation, approved overwhelmingly in both houses of the legislature," The New Standard reports. "At least 20 other states have similar legislation pending, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, an opponent of the federal program."

According to a CNET article published in January, "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."