With the REAL ID Act of 2005 just months away from finally being implemented, Maine now has a bill on the table that would return to the fight it started. LD 1068, introduced by State Rep. Ben Chipman (I-Portland), would repeal parts of Maine law passed to comply with the controversial federal law. It already has scored bipartisan support, as Minority Leader Emily Cain (D-Orono), Assistant Minority Leader Teresea Hayes (D-Buckfield) and Assistant Majority Leader Andre Cushing (R-Hampden) are among the co-sponsors. Rep. Cushing is joined by Senator Doug Thomas (R-Somerset) and Representative Alex Willette (R-Mapleton); Reps. Cain and Hayes are joined by George Hogan (D-Old Orchard Beach), Edward Mazurek (D-Rockland), Ann Peoples (D-Westbrook), and Charles Theriault (D-Madawaska) in co-sponsoring the bill.
The bill(as provided by the summary in it):
1. Repeals the requirement that the Secretary of State issue driver’s licenses and nondriver identification cards only to individuals who present documentary evidence of legal presence in the United States;
2. Exempts social security numbers in the possession of the Secretary of State from the definition of “public records” under Maine’s freedom of access laws;
3. Provides that the Secretary of State may not disseminate social security numbers to any entity without legislative authorization;
4. Restricts the distribution and retention of digital information used to produce a license;
5. Prohibits the Secretary of State from use of biometric technology, such as retinal scans, facial recognition or fingerprint technology, but not including digital photographs in the production or storing of license information;
6. Repeals the requirement that the Secretary of State participate in the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program, the centralized database system used and maintained by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services;
7. Repeals the requirement that the Secretary of State study the most cost-effective technology to prevent driver’s license or nondriver identification card duplication;
8. Provides that cost savings as a result of this Act must be allocated to the Highway and Bridge Capital program within the Department of Transportation;
9. Does not change the current requirement that an applicant for a Maine driver’s license or nondriver identification card must provide proof of residency; and
10. Repeals the requirement that a license or nondriver identification card of a noncitizen or legal permanent resident expires at the end of the licensee’s authorized duration of stay in the United States.
For entire bill text, click here.
Maine previously led the fight against REAL ID back in 2007, when the then-Democratically-controlled Legislature moved to strike down the controversial law. The nullification was near complete until Democratic Governor John Baldacci vetoed the attempt and instead said Maine should comply with the law. Since, twenty five states have moved to strike down the law and the resistance has led to six years of delay in implementation.
Chris is the state chapter coordinator for the Maine Tenth Amendment Center.
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