Committee: Real ID licenses to be optional
April 21, 2010
(AP) – Nevada drivers won’t be required to obtain high-security Real ID licenses under a measure endorsed by a legislative panel.
The Legislative Committee on Regulations voted Monday to make the licenses optional, at least for now.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will now hold a public hearing to change regulations before sending the matter back to the committee for final approval by month’s end.
Gov. Jim Gibbons in January imposed Real ID requirements for 120 days by executive order, making Nevada one of only nine state to comply with the federal law. Since then, 46,000 drivers have obtained the licenses.
State lawmakers last year killed a bill that would have implemented the program.
Opponents have described the Real ID requirements as unnecessarily intrusive into people’s lives.
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It had cost $2 million to implement the Real ID license program in Nevada, of which $750,000 was state money. Edgar Roberts, DMV director, told the committee it will cost the state about $400,000 to reverse course.
To receive the high-security “gold star” licenses, drivers must show a birth certificate, a Social Security card and proof of residency through utility or other bills.
Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 as a way to deter terrorists from acquiring forged identification documents. After many states objected, the federal government postponed until March 2011 a final decision on what action it will take if states don’t follow comply.