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About The Issue > H.R. 3471

Take Action! Support H.R. 3471, Repeal the Real ID Act here.

Support H.R. 3471, the REAL ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009

Introduced on July 31st by Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN), H.R. 3471 repeals title II of the REAL ID Act of 2005, and reinstates section 7212 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which provides for a negotiated rulemaking process on the production of more secure driver’s licenses. 

Similar to the Akaka-Sununu Senate bill of 2007 and the Allen House bill of 2007, Rep. Cohen’s bill would eliminate most of the requirements that laid the foundation for a National ID card, such as the obligation that all data and systems be standardized. The proposal also requires a collaborative approach, called negotiated rulemaking, which would advise the Department of Homeland Security on how to maximize driver’s license security while minimizing the administrative burden on the states. This approach was initially adopted by the law which implemented the 9/11 Commission recommendations and subsequently repealed by Real ID. Significant privacy protections in the proposal include prohibiting the use of license data by third parties, encryption of the data and adherence to state privacy laws that may provide greater protection. Additionally, Rep. Cohen’s bill would provide for the establishment of a negotiated rulemaking committee, which would present its recommendations to the Department of Homeland Security.

A "Dear Colleague" Letter From Congressman Cohen:

Support the "REAL ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009"

Twenty-Three States Have Rejected Implementation of this Unworkable Law

Cosponsors in the 111th Congress: Filner, Gonzalez, Hirono, Hodes, Kucinich, Shea-Porter, Stark

Cosponsors in the 110th Congress: Abercrombie, Baldwin, Berkley, Corrine Brown, Carney, Cleaver, Cummings, DeGette, Ellison, Filner, Gonzalez, Grijalva, Alcee L. Hastings, Hinchey, Hirono, Hodes, Holt, Honda, Jackson-Lee, Kagen, Kind, Kucinich, Meeks, Michaud, George Miller, Moran, Murtha, Olver, Pastor, Rangel, Rothman, Ruppersberger, Linda Sanchez, Serrano, Shea-Porter, Stark, Towns, Wasserman Schultz, Welch, Woolsey

Dear Colleague:

The REAL ID Act forces states to implement new standards, new technology, and new procedures for processing and approving driver’s license applications by January 1, 2010. Title II of the Act, which mandated the creation of a national identity card in the guise of driver’s license standardization, amounts to a massive federal mandate on the states that will do nothing to protect national security. Since its enactment, the REAL ID Act has troubled people across the political spectrum. It imposes substantial burdens on the states – currently estimated by the Department of Homeland Security to total a minimum of $9.9 billion – while providing minimal federal funding. This hidden tax increase invades everyone’s privacy, attacks federalism and embodies the worst excesses of bureaucratic government.

We must ensure that our identity documents are secure, but REAL ID will not work in its current form. H.R. 3471, the "REAL ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009" repeals REAL ID’s driver’s license requirements and reestablishes the negotiated rulemaking process that was underway when REAL ID became law. This process will bring together DHS, DOT, states, and experts in privacy, civil liberties, and constitutional rights to establish national standards that will protect both national security and the privacy of American citizens.

The current law and regulations also lack certain necessary accommodations. For example, some religious minorities object to having their photograph taken, victims of domestic violence may face severe danger if their address leaks out of a government database, and many low income people are unable to afford the documents they are required to obtain. This legislation would ensure that, where appropriate, these factors are properly considered.

To date, fifteen states – Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington – have enacted binding legislation prohibiting participation in the REAL ID program. Nine additional states – Colorado, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Hawaii – have passed resolutions opposing REAL ID or asking Congress to repeal the Act.
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