Maine House approves ‘Real ID’ bill allowing individuals to opt out

Posted April 11, 2017, at 5:50 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s decade-long resistance to a controversial federal identification law is drawing closer to an end following a vote in the House of Representatives Tuesday.

The House voted 115-30 on a bill that would comply with the Real ID law, while also allowing Mainers to individually opt out.

The bill is designed to make Maine drivers’ licenses align with the federal identification law, which was passed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and established minimum security standards for state-issued identification cards. Maine has resisted complying with the law because of cost, constitutionality and privacy concerns.

Rep. Gay Grant, a Gardiner Democrat, said the state should continue to resist Real ID. “Americans have a fundamental right to privacy,” she said. “Real ID infringes on that right.”

Supporters of the bill argued that noncompliance has already blocked Mainers from accessing federal facilities in other states. Come next year, Mainers could be prevented from boarding passenger flights if the state doesn’t comply.

It will cost the state nearly $4 million over the next few years to comply with Real ID. The bill moves to the Senate, where it won approval last week, 31-4.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

SEE COMMENTS →