ACLU Applauds Governor Napolitano

June 17, 2008 12:00 am

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Arizona governor signs bill to opt out of REAL ID

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WASHINGTON – Today, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano signed into law legislation that would prohibit the state from complying with the Real ID Act of 2005, a federal mandate imposing a national ID card on all Americans through their state drivers’ licenses. The measure passed both the Arizona House and Arizona Senate with overwhelming support: 51 to 1 and 21 to 7 respectively.

“Governor Napolitano has joined a nationwide movement against Real ID,” said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU Technology and Liberty Program. “Arizona has become the 10th state to pass legislation prohibiting compliance. The governor’s actions today sends a strong and clear message that the people of Arizona will not stand for the Department of Homeland Security trampling on their right to privacy. The state government will not abide an unfunded mandate.”

The Real ID Act of 2005 mandates that all states have compliant identification cards consistent with federal regulations, and requires that all Americans’ private information be held in a single database that is accessible to federal and state officials – the cost and security of which is unknown. The states’ response to the passage of Real ID has been steady. In 2007, 17 states passed either resolutions or statutes against the program, including 7 that opted out of it altogether. This year Idaho, Alaska and Arizona all opted out of Real ID by statue, and similar legislation is still pending in several states.

“Governor Napolitano deserves praise for standing up the federal government,” added Dan Pochoda, legal director of the ACLU of Arizona. “Real ID is a real nightmare. The people of Arizona will not just lie down and play dead while this administration continues to dictate unfunded and unconstitutional mandates to the states.”

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