Agency Working On Impact Analysis Of Anti-Terror Law
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2006
CONTACT: Roger C. Vann, Executive Director (203) 500-5190
Hartford — Newly obtained documents reveal that officials at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles are concerned that federal legislation called the Real ID Act will carry heavy expenses that will have to be absorbed by Connecticut taxpayers and license applicants. The Act, passed by Congress last spring, imposes federal regulations on the design, issuance and management of state driver’s licenses –turning them, for all practical purposes, into federal identity papers.
“Civil liberties groups, conservative groups, immigration groups – we’ve all been saying that Real ID will be a real disaster and needs to be revisited by Congress,” said Roger C. Vann, Executive Director of Connecticut American Civil Liberties Union. “These documents indicate that Connecticut DMV officials – the people actually responsible for carrying out this ill-conceived law – also have serious problems with Real ID.”
The documents are part of a national survey of state motor vehicle officials’ views and preparation for complying with Real ID that was conducted by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). The documents were first reported today by the Associated Press. A copy of Connecticut’s response to the survey was obtained by the ACLU.
“Connecticut officials are right to be concerned,” said Vann. “Real ID not only means a national ID, but it will mean higher taxes and fees, longer lines, repeat visits to the DMV, bureaucratic snafus, and, for a lot of people, the inability to obtain a license. To top it off, it will do little if anything to prevent terrorism.”
Vann noted that the national survey responses showed that the concerns expressed by Connecticut officials are broadly shared by motor vehicles administrators around the United States. For example, no state that responded to the survey seems to believe it is possible in the near future to link all the motor vehicle information databases between all states, as the statute requires. And 3 in 4 states reacted with “medium” to “high” concern to Real ID’s extensive new document-verification requirements, which they said would involve major systems changes and increased hiring – and that is assuming that AAMVA or the federal government will build electronic systems for verification.
In the survey, Connecticut officials wrote that they are analyzing the impact of the REAL ID Act on the State but preliminarily have identified the need for new “information systems and the associated costs” as major issues. They pointed out that some of the Act’s provisions require further clarification. Officials also indicated that several components of the Act will require the General Assembly to pass enabling legislation.
“This document is a cry for help by our DMV,” said Vann. “Fortunately, the opposition to this bill is so broad – and is becoming broader as more people figure out what it would do and what it would cost – that there is a very good chance that we can force Congress to take it up again.”
“Congress needs to do this right and actually hold hearings, listen to all the different interests and real-world practical difficulties, and give it an up-or-down vote, none of which happened when it was rammed through last spring,” said Barry Steinhardt, director of the national ACLU’s Technology and Liberty Project. “Connecticut residents need to join with others around the country and help block this disastrous law before it’s too late.”
Connecticut’s response to the AAMVA survey along with other documents is online at www.realnightmare.org.
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