States Balk At National ID Card Plan

Posted: May 10th, 2005 by Militant Libertarian

States are threatening to challenge in court and even disobey new orders from Congress to start issuing more uniform driver’s licenses and verify the citizenship or legal status of people getting them.

There is concern among some states that they’ll get stuck with a large tab to pay for implementing the new rules and that getting a driver’s license will become a bigger headache for law-abiding residents.

“Governors are looking at all their options. If more than half of the governors agree we’re not going down without a fight on this, Congress will have to consider changing this unfunded federal mandate,” said Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, vice chairman of the National Governors Association. A Huckabee aide said the options include court action.

States fear the new rules may force applicants to make more than one trip to motor vehicle departments, once to provide documents such as birth certificates that states must verify and a second time to pick up the license, state officials said.

“What passed is something that will be an enormous amount of work and it’s questionable what it’s going to yield,” said Democrat Matt Dunlap, Maine’s secretary of state. “Is it going to yield national security or is it going to be hassle for people already complying with the law?”

The immigration requirements were attached to an $82 billion spending package for military operations and construction in Iraq and Afghanistan that the House passed last week. The Senate is expected to vote this week and send the bill to President Bush.

“We’d like to work with people to implement the needed reform and will be very disappointed if these groups thwart these important rules,” said Jeff Lungren, spokesman for Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner, who wrote the new requirements.

Sensenbrenner said last week that waiting a little longer in line is “a small price to pay” to prevent future terrorism.

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