Tester praises Montana Legislature, Schweitzer for bucking REAL ID

Senator calls on colleagues to listen to message from Montana

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester urged his colleagues in Congress to pay attention to the bipartisan message coming from the Montana Capitol today.

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer signed legislation refusing state implementation of the federal REAL ID Act.  The state legislation, sponsored by Montana Rep. Brady Wiseman, D-Bozeman, unanimously passed both the Montana House and the Montana Senate.

"Today credit goes to all 150 members of the Montana Legislature, Governor Schweitzer and the people of Montana for opting out of REAL ID," Tester said. "Montanans are speaking loud and clear on this issue and it's time for Capitol Hill to listen."

The federal REAL ID Act calls for a national identification networking system, requiring extensive private information from all U.S. citizens.  It would also require states to standardize their drivers' licenses at their own expense.

In a U.S. Senate floor statement submitted today, Tester said the REAL ID Act:

  • Will lead to blatant invasions of privacy by the federal government, and by    identity thieves.
  • Will require too many new federal regulations imposed on states.
  • Would cost states an overwhelming $23.1 billion.

"We need stronger border security and tougher immigration policy," Tester said. "But as a Montanan, I am downright against giving the federal government keys to the doors of our private lives."

Tester is a co-sponsor of the Identification Security Enhancement Act, a bipartisan bill that repeals the REAL ID Act and gives states more flexibility in fighting terrorism.