By Maryland Senator Roy Dyson
Another federal mandate is threatening to affect state legislatures all across the country including Maryland.
Federal legislation passed in 2005 states that after December 31, 2009, "a Federal agency my not accept, for any official purpose, a driver's license or identification card issued by a state to any person unless the state in meeting the requirements" specified in the Real ID Act."
REAL ID as it is known seems like a good idea at first. But as they say, the devil is in the details. We all want to do everything we can to prevent terrorism, identity theft and fraud.
This legislation's intent was to do just that. However, it has become incredibly burdensome and difficult for state departments of motor vehicles to implement.
While Maryland is preparing to implement the REAL ID requirements, the General Assembly needs to pass legislation put some or all of these requirements into place. This is where the problem gets difficult. By law, Maryland's Motor Vehicle Administration must pay for such new systems through user fees such as increased driver's licenses, learner's permits or identification cards.
Our driver's license and registration fees for our motor vehicles are already too high. This federal mandate which would make it extremely inconvenient for all of us - especially the elderly to get the card for all of us, but it mostly affects the poor and the elderly.
The REAL ID act requires individuals to show up in person at their local motor vehicle office in person and present original identity documents such as Social Security numbers, birth certificates or other forms proving your identity.
One such scenario that was presented to me is that many senior citizens have no way to gain access to their birth certificates which may never have been recorded or lost for good because of bookmaking errors of a bygone error.
It is also difficult for seniors to get out to their local MVA office, much less spend a lot of time there which a lot of states that have already begin issuing REAL ID's are already doing.
If Maryland does not become fully compliant with this federal mandate by 2009, the already difficult, frustrating and aggravating trip to airport will become even more ponderous.
There is talk, generated by the states that this federal legislation,
One complaint people have about Maryland's MVA is one that I share.
But what has the homeland security czar been doing, besides monitoring his belly? While Chertoff was sharing details of his physical distress over the possibility of an al-Qaeda attack, a new congressional report showed how easy it was to fraudulently obtain a license to buy radioactive material. All it took for undercover investigators to flimflam the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was a post-office box at Mail Boxes Etc., a telephone, a fax machine and some fast talking.