Baucus and Tester: No REAL ID for Christmas

Montana’s Drivers’ Licenses Will Remain Sufficient Identification

(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today commended Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s decision to delay the enforcement of REAL ID provisions and continue working with the Montana senators to repeal the act. The decision will ensure that the Montana state driver’s license remains a sufficient form of identification through April of 2011.

REAL ID requires states to standardize their drivers’ licenses according to highly specific federal regulations and build costly new databases that the federal government can access, essentially creating a national ID system.

Baucus and Tester wrote Napolitano earlier this month urging her to continue delaying enforcement of REAL ID, as Congress works to repeal the law.

“REAL ID is simply wrong for Montana,” Baucus said. “Jon and I have been fighting against REAL ID since the beginning because it’s a violation of our privacy and an unfair burden on state coffers. This is good news, and I will continue to fight to get rid of this terrible plan, once and for all.”
“REAL ID is not only expensive, it invades the privacy and constitutional freedoms of law-abiding Americans, and it’s not right for Montana,” said Tester, a member of the Homeland Security Committee. “The fight over REAL ID isn’t over yet, but today’s news is a big win for Montana.”

Had the Department of Homeland Security not granted an extension of the current REAL ID deadline, as of January 1, 2010, Montanans using a secure, valid Montana driver’s license for federal identification purposes and commercial air travel could have been subject to additional screening requirements, because the IDs do not meet REAL ID standards.

Montana is one of thirteen states to reject compliance with REAL ID.

Baucus and Tester, who have continually opposed Real ID, have pledged to continue to work with their Senate colleagues to repeal the legislation. This extension will ensure that in the meantime, Montanans are not faced with any unwarranted burdens when using their state issued identification.