Minnesota legislators continue to feel the pressure to get REAL I.D.

REAL I.D. is a federal program, post 9/11, requiring states to issue drivers licenses with enhanced security features.

Minnesota, citing privacy concerns, remains one of four states holding out.

Yet the botched revamp of Minnesota’s license and registration system — which is underway — and a 2009 ban on public safety officials exploring REAL I.D. technology is complicating the state’s ability to develop and deliver the enhanced licenses.

“Minnesota law says, ‘the Commissioner of Public Safety is prohibited from taking any action to implement or to plan for the implementation by this state’ of the Real ID Act,” Bruce Gordon, Minnesota Department of Public Safety communications director, said in an email.

With the Department of Homeland Security hinting at barring people without secure licenses or passports from flying next year, lawmakers have signaled their intention to move toward compliance in 2016. But legislators don’t reconvene until March.

“They can’t tell us what it’s going to cost to be in full compliance, any of that kind of stuff,” said Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, chair of the House Civil Law and Data Practices Committee. “They can’t say, ‘Yeah, what we’re building is going to work,’ because they haven’t been able to explore REAL I.D. because of what the Legislature did in 2009.” 

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