State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Real ID compliance has good chance of passing, to ACLU's dismay

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Mar 8, 2017 9:12 PM
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Pennsylvania's ID cards are out of federal compliance, and will begin to affect people next year. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- For years, the commonwealth has been purposely violating federal ID standards known as Real ID, which date back to 2005.

But now, under threats from the federal government that Pennsylvanians will have to use passports to board domestic flights starting in 2018, lawmakers are advancing legislation to get in compliance.

Some lawmakers, and the American Civil Liberties Union, however, say the laws moving through the House and Senate don't protect people's privacy.

The non-compliance law was passed in 2012, under GOP governor Tom Corbett in response to a federal act ordering states to participate in a national ID database to cut down on ID fraud.

The anti-Real ID law saw bipartisan support in Pennsylvania's House and Senate, with lawmakers arguing collecting information in a centralized database infringes on civil rights, and wastes taxpayer money.

Now, there's bipartisan support again--this time, for repealing that same measure.

Lawmakers have expressed confidence it'll happen.

But the ACLU still opposes the repeal in its current form.

Spokesman Andy Hoover said a better solution would be to give Pennsylvanians information about what the database does, and the liberty to opt out if they choose.

He added that other states have passed similar laws while still staying within federal compliance.

Back in 2012, PennDOT estimated Real ID would cost around $100 million to put in place, and $40 million per year to keep up.

A more recent study showed people could have to spend somewhere between half a billion and a billion dollars total on passports if the state stays out of compliance.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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