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Gov. Dayton asks for extension for REAL ID compliance

By Robb Jeffries

Forum News Service

ST. PAUL — Come 2016, Minnesotans may be unable to board commercial aircraft with their state-issued identification.

Gov. Mark Dayton asked the federal Department of Homeland Security for an extension to bring the state within compliance Friday. The federal program, which goes into effect Jan. 1, establishes minimum standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and other identification cards, and prohibits the use of non-compliant ID for federal uses, including entering federal facilities and boarding commercial flights.

In his letter, the Democratic governor asked for an extension — also recently granted to Louisiana, New York and New Hampshire — so the state Legislature could address the issue in its upcoming session in March. Legislative action is necessary because of a 2009 law signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty prohibits the state Department of Public Safety, the agency in charge of identification cards, from implementing REAL ID standards.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and other state Republican leaders also sent a letter to Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, urging for an extension.

“We fear that barring access to Minnesotans seeking to enter public facilities could result in lost economic activity, and unnecessarily disrupt access for Minnesota vendors that supply critical services and equipment to the federal government,” the letter reads.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and the Senate DFL caucus will be meeting with Dayton to discuss the possibility of an extension. Bakk spokesperson Alyssa Siems Roberson said a majority of the caucus supports an extension.

The REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 following a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission to “set (federal) standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”

Forum News Service

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