Real ID plan advances
Associated Press Writer
(AP) ” A state Senate panel voted Tuesday for a bill to bring Nevada into compliance with the federal Real ID law that’s aimed at making it tougher for terrorists, illegal immigrants and others to get official identification.
SB52, approved by the Senate Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee, now moves to the full Senate. Panel members voted 5-2 for the bill, with Sens. Maggie Carlton and John Lee, both southern Nevada Democrats, voting “no.”
The new IDs will be required for federal purposes, such as boarding an airplane or entering a federal building. Other federal identification, including passports and military IDs, also can be used in place of the ID.
Real ID-compliant cards will be phased in. Nevadans who are 50 or younger on Dec. 1, 2014, won’t need the card until that date. Nevadans older than 50 on Dec. 1, 2014, won’t need a Real ID-compliant card until late in 2017. Current driver’s licenses and those issued until then will be accepted up to those dates.
State Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Tom Jacobs said Nevada should be in line with the federal act and able to issue Real ID-compliant Nevada driver’s licenses and ID cards in early 2010. He added his department still will issue the same licenses that are issued now so that Nevadans will have a choice.
Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, supported the bill and told committee members that it is one more step in securing the nation’s borders and identifying people who are in the country both legally and illegally. He added the IDs make identity theft more difficult.
Nolan also said there is a lot of misinformation about the new identification cards. He said the committee got comments from “individual sources that really oppose this legislation and see it as much more of a Big Brother, trying to get into personal data and information of our constituents.”
“That is not only not the intended purpose, but it’s not possible based upon the merits of the bill and where we’re trying to go with this,” Nolan said.
After the hearing, Nolan said the bill doesn’t allow federal or state government agencies to track personal activity, and also doesn’t interfere with Second Amendment rights to own or posses firearms.
Sen. Carlton said her concerns about the bill were both personal and related to potential impacts on undocumented people.
“I have a philosophic problem that my driver’s license is some form of validation of who I am,” Carlton said. “My driver’s license certifies that I can operate a vehicle that’s all it does. … It is not meant to be a de facto national ID card. That’s why I use my passport.”
“It’s no secret how I feel about undocumented people in the United States,” Carlton added. “I have advocated for them in the past and I will continue to advocate for them because the system as far as immigration is still broken, and I still have some concerns about where the Real ID is actually going to end up in the future.”
The Real ID program was proposed by the commission that looked into the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The panel recommended that the U.S. improve its system of issuing identification documents because the hijackers had numerous licenses and state IDs.