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House committee votes to block REAL ID Act
An Iowa House committee voted Thursday to advance legislation that would prohibit the state Department of Transportation from implementing the REAL ID Act.
The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in May 2005 and created a new set of standards for identification cards, imposing federal mandates about what would have to be done in order to provide an ID. It also requires new information to be labeled on the cards, including a new, unique identifying number.
The Iowa bill — House File 237 – prohibits any agency from requiring a REAL ID to be shown, collected or used in Iowa.
This bill states the general assembly’s findings that the REAL ID Act is inimical to the security and well-being of the people of Iowa, will cause unnecessary expense and inconvenience, and violates the principles of federalism contained in the tenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The bill states the general assembly’s intent that Iowa not participate in implementation of the REAL ID Act.
Depending on when you were born, all citizens would have to have a REAL ID by 2014 or 2017.
HF237 was passed out of committee by bi-partisan vote of 22-1.
The law would have imposed higher burdens and stricter standards of proof for individuals applying for asylum and other related forms of relief. It would also create stricter guidelines for showing proof of citizenship in order to obtain an ID, and would have required all persons to bring additional documentation when going to the DOT for their ID card.
The bill originated in the U.S. House and was attached as a rider to a “must-pass” piece of legislation concerning emergency appropriations to go towards the Iraq War and tsunami relief. It was dropped, then later re-added in conference, and passed the U.S. Senate unanimously. There was never any debate or hearings by the Senate on the REAL ID Act.
Critics on the left and right have called it a “national ID” and said it goes too far, and could become too integrated with everyday tasks.
Since Democrats regained control of Congress in 2006, bi-partisan legislation was introduced several times in both the House and Senate to repeal the REAL ID Act. However, none of those bills were ever brought to a vote.
To date, more than half of the states have passed legislation or resolutions to declare opposition or refusal to comply with the REAL ID Act.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano today extended by the deadline for states to be in full compliance with the law from May 10, 2011 to Jan. 15, 2013.
The ACLU of Iowa, Campaign for Liberty, Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO and the Iowa Minuteman Civil Defense Corps are all registered in support of the legislation. There are no groups registered as opposed.