REAL ID failed to pass the Senate floor this week. The Senate DFL attempted to pass a clean bill without unnecessary immigration language, but the amendment failed on a party line vote. The GOP then brought their bill to a vote, after refusing to compromise, and it ended up failing with Democrats and Republicans voting against it. The bill was taken up again Wednesday and “laid on the table” to give the majority time to figure out how to craft a bill that can pass with bipartisan support.
The main sticking point between the House and the Senate that continues to tie-up this urgent legislation is an attempt by the Republicans to attach controversial language related to immigration. That issue has been controversial at the Capitol for a number of years, and the Republican effort to attach it to the REAL ID bill has stalled this important legislation. The Senate hopes to pass a clean bill allowing Department of Public Safety (DPS) to implement REAL ID and allow Minnesotans to board their flights and visit their loved ones on military bases without adding other controversial issues.
The REAL ID implementation bill would grant the DPS the authority to get Minnesota driver’s licenses and IDs compliant with the federal standards. The bill creates a two-tier system with a REAL ID-compliant ID and driver’s license and a noncompliant instate ID and driver’s license. This allows those who have privacy concerns and those who will not be traveling by airplane to maintain their current driver’s license and ID, while also allowing the traveling public to get a REAL ID-compliant ID or driver’s license. DPS would have to begin issuing compliant IDs and driver’s licenses by Oct. 1, 2018. (SF 166)