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Homeland Security rejects Minnesota's request for Real ID extension

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota has still not done enough work to merit an extension on complying with the federal Real ID driver's license standards, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

ST. PAUL - Minnesota has still not done enough work to merit an extension on complying with the federal Real ID driver’s license standards, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

In a letter last week, released Monday, Homeland Security officials acknowledged that the state lifted its ban on planning for the federal standards but noted that it still bans implementation of the standards.
Until Minnesota demonstrated that it has the legal authority to implement the requirements of the Real ID Act and commits to full compliance, DHS is unable to grant a request for extension,” the Homeland Security assistant secretaries wrote.
The Minnesota Legislature is working this year to comply with the long-resisted Real ID standards. But once the federal government threatened that come 2018 Minnesotans could no longer use their driver’s licenses to get through airport security and for other federal purposes, state lawmakers’ resistance wore away.
Earlier this year, the state repealed its ban on planning for Real ID. Last week, the Minnesota Senate overwhelmingly approved new driver’s license standards to offer drivers and other state identification holders a choice between getting the federally approved identification or keeping a nonfederally compliant identification card.
The House is expected to approve a similar measure Tuesday.
But there are differences between the House and Senate measures.
The House measure would ban undocumented immigrants from receiving driver’s licenses, a provision to which both DFL senators and a bipartisan cohort of House members object. During Tuesday’s floor discussion, Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, will attempt to change that, he said.
The House and Senate also differ on when they would make the new Real ID cards available. The House measure would make them available starting later this year, which would cost the state about $5 million. The Senate would make them available starting in 2018, which could require some Minnesotans to get two new identification cards within a four-year period.
Both measures, however, would rescind the state’s current ban on implementing the Real ID standards. It is that provision in Minnesota law that the federal government says needs to go away before Minnesota can join the two dozen states that have been granted extensions to comply.


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