PA House Sends Real ID Opt Out Bill to Governor, Says ACLU of PA

April 3, 2012 12:00 am

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Civil Liberties Group Calls Federal Law “De Facto National ID”

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today passed legislation to block the implementation of the federal Real ID Act, sending the bill to Governor Corbett for his approval. Real ID is a federal law that forces burdensome mandates on the states in the issuance of drivers’ licenses.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania praised the House for its action and said that the legislation will stop a “de facto national ID card” from becoming a reality in the commonwealth.

“Real ID is a federal overreach that compromises the privacy of all Pennsylvanians and all Americans,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “We are grateful that an overwhelming number of representatives recognized the burdens that Real ID will place on the state.”

Senate Bill 354, introduced by Senator Mike Folmer of Lebanon, unanimously passed the Senate in October. If it is signed by the governor, Pennsylvania will become the 16th state to block Real ID by statute. The commonwealth will also be the largest state to do so, prompting the ACLU of Pennsylvania to call the bill’s passage “the death knell” for Real ID.

“Real ID cannot function without the states,” said Andy Hoover, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “A diverse group of states has risen up to tell the federal government that they will not accept this mandate.”

Other states that have opted out of Real ID have included Montana, Oklahoma, Maine, Virginia, Washington, Alaska, and Arizona.
Hoover noted that Governor Corbett has made no known public comments about Real ID and the opt out legislation. But Hoover also said that the Department of Transportation has been actively engaged as the bill has moved through the legislature and that Folmer amended the bill at PennDOT’s request.

“We’re optimistic that PennDOT’s engagement is an indication that the governor will sign the bill,” Hoover said. “Senator Folmer has revised the bill to address their concerns.”

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