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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

SENATE COMMITTEE VOTES TO REPLACE REAL ID LAW

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The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted today to scrap the controversial REAL ID law which will require states to begin implementing tough new standardized technology requirements for drivers licenses in just a few months. A number of states have rebelled against the requirements and they risk their licenses not being accepted for federal purposes - including boarding airplanes.

The measure that passed today is called the PASS ID bill and would extend deadlines and provide more government funds to help in the transition. From Govexec:

A Senate panel approved legislation today that would establish
federal security standards for driver's licenses and identification
cards, including a $150 million grant program to help states digitize
birth records.

The bill creating the PASS ID program, approved by the Senate
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee by voice vote,
will require states to issue driver's licenses that are compliant with
federal standards by 2016. States will have to show they are moving
toward compliance by 2011.

The bill is intended to replace the 2005 REAL ID law, which federal
and state officials roundly criticized as unworkable. It is expected to
be brought to the Senate floor soon, as it needs to be enacted by
December in order to repeal looming deadlines under REAL ID.

Details of the bill were negotiated in recent days by Senate
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joseph Lieberman
and ranking member Susan Collins, along with Sens. Daniel Akaka,
D-Hawaii, and George Voinovich, R-Ohio.

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