January 29, 2007 | By Hugh D'Andrade

Maine Rejects Real ID

The Real ID Act took a blow last week, when Maine became the first state to formally declare its opposition. The Maine legislature voted overwhelmingly to refuse to comply with the act's mandates, and requested that Congress repeal the law.

The Real ID Act essentially forces states to create a national ID. Under the law, state drivers licenses will only be accepted for "federal purposes" -- like accessing planes, trains, national parks, and court houses -- if they conform to certain uniform standards. The law also requires a vast national database linking all of the ID records together. Estimated costs of $12 billion or more will be passed on to the states and, ultimately, average citizens in the form of increased DMV fees or taxes.

"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," said Maine's House Majority Leader Hanna Pingree.

Meanwhile, opposition in other states is growing. Similar measures rejecting the Real ID Act are under consideration in 11 states, including Montana, Georgia, Massachusetts and Washington state.

For more information on the problems with the Real ID Act of 2005, visit EFF's Real ID page, as well as the ACLU's www.realnightmare.org.

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