Montana Congressman Steve Daines announced plans Thursday to introduce a bill repealing portions of the 2005 REAL ID Act related to federally-mandated security protocols for driver’s licenses and other state-issued ID cards.
“In recent months, Montanans have become increasingly concerned about the federal government’s access to Montana’s personal information,” Daines said during a press conference in the state capitol building’s old Supreme Court chambers.
Daines said he will introduce his “Repeal ID Act of 2014” in Congress next week. It would do away with REAL ID mandates which started rolling out in January for state-issued IDs. Montana and 11 other states have not been found in compliance with the law. The enforcement plan for REAL ID indicates noncompliant state IDs will be accepted in fewer and fewer federally-controlled areas, culminating in commercial airlines refusing to acknowledge them no earlier than 2016.
The Department of Homeland Security website says secure IDs are a vital component of the country’s security strategy, quoting from the 2004 9/11 Commission Report: “For terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons.”
The REAL ID mandates include security standards for both the IDs themselves and for the buildings and employees who issue those cards. It also requires state databases obtain standard photos from these licenses, allowing law enforcement to use facial-recognition technology to help apprehend criminals.
Attorney General Tim Fox joined Daines for the capitol press conference. He said the state takes security very seriously.
"We've taken very positive steps through the years to make sure Montana's driver’s license...and the process for applying for a driver's license and reapplying is very, very secure," he said, adding the state does so without introducing on the privacy of Montana citizens.
Daines said Montanans have spoken loud and clear on their opinion of the REAL ID Act. The 2007 Montana Legislature voted unanimously against complying with the law.
Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh as well as Governor Steve Bullock all say they too oppose the REAL ID Act.