In a press release issued on Monday, Representative Babette Josephs (D-Philadelphia) called on Pennsylvania “to join the growing number of states objecting to yet another federal unfunded mandate — known as Real ID” and announced the introduction of House Resolution 100 with 23 co-sponsors from both parties to state the Commonwealth’s opposition.
“Implementing Real ID not only will be a drain on Pennsylvania’s finances to implement, at a cost of $100 million, it will cause confusion and delay for driver’s seeking to renew their driver’s licenses. It also will be an infringement on citizen civil liberties and state rights,” Josephs said. “At least six state legislatures have already voted to ignore the federal law, and others are viewing the law with distaste and mistrust.
“The federal government says this law was enacted to protect citizens, but it actually could make it easier for us to be harmed,” said Josephs, D-Phila., majority chairperson of the House State Government Committee.
Under the federal law, which purportedly was enacted as a way to prevent fraud after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, states would have to link their driver’s license information to a national database. That database would be accessible by many entities, which could make it easier for personal information to be stolen, sold or even used for a purpose other than which Real ID was intended.
“The privacy of Pennsylvanians would be violated, directly as a result of Real ID,” Josephs said.
Then at a transportation budget hearing on Tuesday, Rep. John Siptroth (D-Pike and Monroe Counties) question Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler about how PennDOT will deal with Real ID and stated, “I think it’s time for Pennsylvania to join the other states” that have stated their opposition. Both Siptroth and Biehler noted that this will be costly for Pennsylvania and slow down the process of driver’s license renewal. The days of renewing over the internet will be over.
Of course, we agree that it’s high time for Pennsylvania to send the feds a clear message that Real ID is unacceptable.
Andy in Harrisburg