So says Ryan Holeywell on Governing:
States are sounding the alarm over a federal policy that would require them to overhaul their systems for issuing driver’s licenses, arguing it’s a massive unfunded mandate that will be incredibly difficult to implement.
If you think you’ve heard this before, you are right. In 2005, following a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission, Congress passed the REAL ID Act. The law was designed to shore up the security of state-issued identification cards in an effort to thwart terrorists and others who use fake IDs to facilitate their crimes. Fast-forward seven years and REAL ID has yet to be fully implemented. Now, as another deadline approaches, states are once again scrambling to meet it and requesting more flexibility. But should they really be concerned?
Federal officials have consistently delayed REAL ID implementation to give states more time to comply. The most recent delay came in March 2011, and today the deadline for states to come into “material compliance” with the law is Jan. 15, 2013. For practical purposes, however, it’s even sooner: States must provide final documentation to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by Oct. 15. State officials say they’re taking this deadline seriously, despite the feds’ track record…