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House Punts on REAL ID Act, Offers Objection in Lieu of Action

http://www.alaskacommons.com/Photograph by Josh Hallett, Artistic Commons Licensing.

On day 90 of the 90-day legislative session, the Alaska Legislature finally handed laws responding to the federal government’s required compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005.

The federal requirement, signed into regulation as half of an omnibus invoice entitled, “Emergency Supplemental Appropriation for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief,” handled myriad new laws — including security measures “for the state driver’s licenses and identity documents, as well as various immigration issues pertaining to terrorism.”

The new requirements have been a outcome of the 9/11 Fee as a essential precaution to combat terrorism.

“Fraud in identification documents is no longer just a problem of theft,” the fee discovered. “At many entry points to vulnerable facilities, including gates for boarding aircraft, sources of identification are the last opportunity to ensure that people are who they say they are and to check whether they are terrorists.”

They beneficial a requirement that each one state-issued licenses and IDs must “bear digitally encoded personal information and possess physical features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication for fraudulent purposes,” in accordance with the Migration Coverage Institute, a D.C.-based nonprofit.

Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens have been among the 99 U.S. senators who lent the measure their stamp of approval (the late Sen. Daniel Inouye was absent for the vote).

The end result was an unfunded mandate requiring the states to comply with the brand new federal requirements.

12 years later, 26 states have accomplished so. Alaska isn’t one of them.

Alaska passed a regulation, carried by Sen. Invoice Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), that prohibited the use of any state funds “for the purpose of implementation of the requirements of the federal Real ID Act of 2005.”

The objection remains regulation at this time.

However, so does the federal regulation requiring state compliance. That would quickly be a big problem for Alaskans hoping to get out of dodge this Summer time.

In March, Governor Invoice Walker (I-Alaska) warned about potential threats non-compliance might translate to:

“Starting June 6, Alaskans who work or live on U.S. military bases will not be able to gain unescorted entry using their Alaska driver’s licenses or any other form of state identification — if the legislature does not pass bills to ensure Alaska’s compliance with the federal REAL ID Act,” Walker said in a press release. “Also, starting January [22, 2018], Alaskans will need a U.S. passport or other REAL ID Act-compliant forms of identification for domestic travel.”

As I famous at the time,

In past years, Alaska has acquired a collection of three-year waivers exempting the state from enforcement of the REAL ID Act, however DHS has advised the Division of Administration (DOA) that, until the State passes legislation this yr, there won’t be another waiver.

As soon as June 6, state staff, personal contractors, academics, and others won’t be permitted on base with out action by the legislature.

“That would directly impact 14,000 local contractors and service providers who could be denied access to federal and military installations,” Brian Duffy, representing the Division of Army and Veterans Affairs, informed lawmakers during a hearing on SB34 — a invoice that might deliver the State into compliance with the REAL ID Act.

“In the future, without a State ID option, parents won’t be able to attend a school event or participate in parent-teacher conferences, or even pick up a sick child [on base] without a passport,” Sharice Walker, with the Fairbanks North Star Borough, added.

Compounding the difficulty off entry to army amenities is the looming menace of Alaskans being unable to cross by means of Transportation Safety Info (TSA) checkpoints at airports and not using a passport.

Solely 55 % of Alaska residents have a passport or a passport card, which means 45 % will be unable to make use of one in lieu of a READ ID card. Obtaining a passport can value as much as $150 and the method of doing so might be each lengthy and cumbersome.

SB34 is unpopular in the halls of the Capitol. The objection to the preliminary passage of the federal laws nonetheless permeates the overall conversation: a national ID card is an overreach of the U.S. authorities, in violation of the Tenth Modification, making a nationwide database of personal info and making the states and citizens pay for it.

And people allegations are viable. Though the REAL ID Act was passed as a security precaution, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) objected to its necessities, noting,

If absolutely carried out, the regulation would facilitate the tracking of knowledge on people and convey authorities into the very middle of every citizen’s life. By definitively turning driver’s licenses into a type of national id documents, Real ID would have a tremendously damaging influence on privateness. It will additionally impose vital administrative burdens and expenses on state governments, and it might imply larger fees, longer strains, repeat visits to the DMV, and bureaucratic nightmares for individuals.

However, regardless of the federal regulation’s reputation, it’s federal regulation. Whether or not or not one approves of the trade off — personal info for the appropriate to travel — doesn’t change the fact that with no passport or a REAL ID acknowledged by the U.S. authorities, one might be barred from army bases as soon as June, and boarding an airplane as early as January.

SB34 froze after stumbling out of Senate State Affairs with only Sen. John Coghill (R-North Pole) recommending “Do Pass.”

“It becomes a pain the neck to think that the federal government can force us to surrender to their description of an ID card that is a federal ID card. Especially when it’s really supposed to be about driving,” Coghill stated final month. “I think we’re supposed to be a free people and right now the fear of government is too high.”

The Database

Throughout SB34’s first listening to in Senate Finance, Sen. Anna MacKinnon requested what about current Alaska ID cards was non-compliant with the REAL ID Act. Commissioner of the Division of Administration, Sheldon Fisher, responded,

At this time, when someone submits main documentation – main documentation – we, the DMV, accept that on face value. And the actual ID requires that we validate that info. So, whether or not it’s a delivery certificates, whether it’s passport info, whether or not it’s visa info, we’re required to access certain databases to validate that that info is right. We’re additionally required to take an image at first of the method… when the individual presents the documents after which validate that on the finish of the process so that there’s not a chance for a person to modify in the middle of the method and a special individual present the documentation and obtain the license.

Alaska State Troopers Captain Dan Lowden stated that there have been about five instances a month the place individuals have been “attempting to get IDs that shouldn’t be.”

He stated the database is used for missing individual and needed individual stories, as well as for lineups trying to determine suspects.

Fisher stated that passing laws would permit the State another two-year waiver which might be sure that there can be “no disruption using existing licenses to get on the bases during this Summer or to access flights after January,” and that the waiver from the U.S. Division of Homeland Safety can be prolonged till remaining legislation could possibly be handed.

“We’ve also been assured that if this legislation doesn’t pass that we should not expect any additional waivers,” he added.

If the legislature sits idly by, with out passage of SB34, it signifies that journey with no passport might be prohibited earlier than the subsequent legislative session commences.

No waiver.

Go fish. However, you understand, in state.

#AKLeg Answer: We Object!

Given the approaching deadline, and looming penalties, the legislature took an admittedly horrible federal invoice and — somewhat than acquiescing — decided to play a recreation of hen.

SB34 has stalled out in Senate Finance with one other hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the House handed HJR15 Sunday afternoon. The measure doesn’t do anything, except thumb a nostril on the federal authorities objecting to the aforementioned dangerous REAL ID Act whereas doing nothing concerning the potential penalties to constituents (whereas, it must be famous, the knowledge required is already being submitted to that dreaded database).

Rep. Tammie Wilson (R-North Pole) referred to as the REAL ID Act another infringement of Tenth Amendment rights.

“Driver’s licenses were meant that you said you could pass a driving test of that state, and all the other requirements, and given a driver’s license. I don’t think any of us ever thought, when we went to get a driver’s license, now, that all these other things were going to happen,” she informed her colleagues in help of HJR15. “But, this is really a security problem as well of privacy. We don’t know where it’s going to go. We don’t know whether or not it’s going to be contained in a warehouse of some kind. Maybe sold overseas. I mean, you just don’t know.”

“This is states’ rights. We have a right to take care of these issues ourselves,” she stated.

“Do we trust government, and if so, to what extent do we trust government?” Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla) added. He stated the federal government, as an alternative, declared, “Here’s a mandate. We’re not necessarily going to fund that mandate. We’re going to tell you how to do it. Oh, and, by the way, if you don’t, we’re going to threaten to withhold your citizens’ rights to travel and other things. And I don’t think that our legislature should encourage that type of relationship.”

“This whole scare tactic that you cannot fly unless you have a REAL ID is scaring Alaskans and saying, ‘Hey, we need to push this through,’” Rep. Chris Tuck stated (D-Anchorage). “I think the better route is this resolution — that we fight back and say, ‘Hey, if anyone — if any state has a right to fly, the State of Alaska has a right to fly.’ We have no other way of getting in and out of villages. We have no way of being able to drive without going through Canada to get to another state.”

Legitimate points, for positive. But, each bears little on the truth that individuals might lose entry to places they must be and/or needed to go because of the legislature’s objections based on principle.

And, I mean this with all due respect, but do they know who occupies the White House proper now? Does he seem amenable to objections of state legislatures?

This may seem a well-liked and uncontroversial choice. It passed with simply Rep. Sam Kito III (D-Juneau) dissenting and doubtless gained’t make headlines.

Then comes June. Then comes January.

However, hey, on the brilliant aspect, at the very least we’re trapped here. All the time look on the brilliant aspect of life.