States Rights versus Federal Hacks:

William T. Pound has published an interesting column in the Kansas City infoZine. In it, he raises many of the customary and sensible criticisms of Real ID, but from a slightly different perspective: States have mined their own vast experience to design the licenses that are appropriate for each of them, and now here come some feds to throw out all of that and substitute some quicky "one fits all" rules. Please bear in mind that this is a federal administration with an amazing abiliity to get things wrong. Some quotes:
Since the inception of the driver's license, states have exercised a great deal of flexibility and autonomy in determining the standards and criteria for issuing them. That freedom is coming to a screeching halt in the face of the federal REAL ID Act. ...
The federal act requires states to issue REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses and identification cards to more than 242 million people. In so doing, each individual's Social Security number, vital records (birth certificates, etc.) and legal resident status must be verified through government databases that either do not exist or do not have the capacity to handle such volume. Additionally, documents that verify that applicants are who they say they are must be scanned and stored electronically while the information on each driver's license must be made accessible to other states through a system that has yet to be determined.

REAL ID is likely to increase visits to state departments of motor vehicles by more than 75 percent each year. ...
Now, federal legislators and rule makers are negating state driver's license security efforts, imposing difficult-to-comply-with mandates and limiting their flexibility to address new concerns as they arise. In other words, decades of state experience is being substituted for a "command and control regime" from a level of government that has no driver's license regulatory experience.

Making matters worse, Congress and the Bush administration have not given states the money they need to put REAL ID in place. In fact, they haven't even provided funding to carry out the mission of improving federal record-keeping necessary for identity verification. Yet they have set an ambitious goal for states to meet all the requirements of the law by May 11, 2008.

I'm really sorry it's not proper to quote the entire article.


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