Montanans face future trouble on Real ID

By JORDAN SPARR/Montana State News

In less than a year, a Montana drivers license will be insufficient identification for getting on a domestic airline flight.

And according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, this month Montana issued drivers licenses will not be enough to get into military bases, federal agencies and nuclear facilities due to state’s non-compliance with the federal Real ID Act.

The Department of Homeland Security’s website for Real ID compliance says that the Real ID Act, “… established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.”

Starting Jan. 30, the extension granted the state by the federal government will cease, and identification cards issued by the state of Montana will no longer be accepted as valid forms of ID.

The Motor Vehicle Division of Montana website states that state Legislature rejects the Real ID Act over concerns of federal overreach and privacy.

The Transportation Security Agency’s official fact sheet regarding Real ID non-compliant states says that, starting Jan. 22, 2018, Montana drivers licenses and identification cards will no longer be accepted for domestic air travel, which will require Montanans to have some form of federal identification, such as a passport, to fly within the United States.

Montana is currently among five states to be violating the Real ID Act, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s website, along with Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, and Washington. Montana legislature has not requested another extension, according to the Motor Vehicle Department website.

In an official press release, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says that, “The Act, which amounts to a mandated but unconstitutional national identification system, violates states’ rights and jeopardizes the privacy rights of the law-abiding citizens of Montana.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s website regarding Real ID information details locations and situations that will not require a Real ID form of identification such as: federal facilities that do not require presentation of identification; voting or registering to vote; applying/receiving federal benefits; being licensed to drive; health services; and participating in law enforcement proceedings/investigations.

– edited by Cullan Staack

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