State delays national ID program
What ever happened to the national identification card program, which was supposed to require state residents who want to board airplanes to carry driver's licenses with new security controls beginning this summer?
Answer: Hawaii received an extension in January until Dec. 31, 2009, to phase in implementation of so-called REAL ID cards, said Liane Moriyama, administrator for the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center.
Gov. Linda Lingle told Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in August 2007 that the state needed more time to coordinate the program's launch with counties because Hawaii is the only place where counties issue driver's licenses while the state is in charge of ID cards.
The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005 to combat terrorism, requires anyone seeking to board an airplane or enter a federal building after May to present a REAL ID-compliant driver's license.
The waiver, which the Homeland Security Department granted to all U.S. jurisdictions, requires states to meet certain benchmarks toward establishing the program. States that achieve the interim goals will be able to get another extension, until May 10, 2011, to comply with the act, according to the agency.
Hawaii and at least 16 other states have objected to REAL ID, passing legislation or resolutions arguing it would be expensive and raise privacy issues by setting up electronic databases of information.
To make the program more appealing to cost-conscious states, federal authorities reduced the expected cost last year to $3.9 billion from $14.6 billion. The federal government has provided more than $361 million in REAL ID grants to states between fiscal years 2006 and 2008.
This update was written by Alexandre Da Silva.
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