Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano last week extended the December 31 deadline for states to materially comply with the REAL ID Act. The Secretary left in place, however, the May 10, 2011, deadline for full compliance with the Act.
The REAL ID Act (Division B, Title II, starting page 81), signed by President Bush in May 2005, requires state-issued identification to meet certain federal requirements if they are to be used for federal purposes, like airline screening. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has good background information here.
States balked, arguing that the requirements amounted to an unfunded mandate and insufficiently protected privacy. Most recently, the National Governors Association wrote Secretary Napolitano stating that at least 36 states could not materially comply by the December 31 deadline and asking for an extension.
In granting the extension, Secretary Napolitano also pushed for repeal of the REAL ID Act, reform of the requirements, and enhanced privacy measures in pending legislation in both the Senate and House. (The Secretary advocated repeal of the REAL ID Act as early as last spring.)