Geoff Dornan

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May 15, 2007
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Lawmakers chop back Real ID funding

Lawmakers voted in committee Tuesday to fund the federal Real ID at a minimal level in hopes the states can convince Congress to either scale back the requirements or pay for implementation.

Instead of the $30 million DMV officials said was necessary to fully comply with the act, the joint Ways and Means/Senate Finance subcommittee put just $300,000 in the budget for the next two years to hire one person to begin putting a state plan together.

Real ID was added without hearings to legislation to pay for hurricane Katrina relief, and requires all states to meet tough standards by 2008 for issuing driver's licenses. It requires every driver to produce positive ID such as a birth certificate and proof they are lawfully in the U.S. And it requires the driver's license itself be tamper-proof and incorporate high-tech features.

But DMV Director Ginny Lewis testified earlier this year it will cost $30 million over the next two years and a total of more than $60 million to fully implement. And implementation means forcing every Nevada driver to find birth certificates and other documents and show up in person to renew their license.

Assemblywoman Kathy McClain, D-Las Vegas, moved to fund only one position to meet minimal federal requirements while staff seeks an extension for Nevada and works with other state DMV offices to get changes made to Real ID.

"It may go away in the meantime," she said. But in its present form, the said Real ID would have a "chaotic impact" on the state.

Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, seconded her motion, saying if Congress refuses, it might be cheaper to hold a one-day special legislative session to meet the requirements than to fund it now.

"Right now we're shooting in the dark," he said.

Lewis said after the vote the action shouldn't cause her any problems at this point.

"It just delays it until the final rules are out in the summer."

She said the action will allow her to hire a project manager to develop a state plan.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated May 16, 2007 03:06PM Published May 15, 2007 03:00AM Copyright 2007 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.