Federal DL requirements pass House; on to Senate next week

| 5/6/2005

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday, April 5, in favor of a compromise version of the Real ID Act, which among other things would outlaw giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

The bill, which was already approved once by the House, had stalled in the Senate, but moved forward after a compromise was reached in a conference committee. It was attached to an emergency bill designed to fund defense and anti-terrorism activities.

The House voted 368-58 for the bill; a vote in the Senate is expected next week.

For U.S. citizens, the bill would mean some additional hassles at the DMV when they apply for new licenses or renew existing licenses. It would require applicants to present a photo ID, a birth certificate, proof of Social Security number and an additional document to verify their name and address.

But the bill also requires that states verify that people are legally in the country before they can receive their licenses.

States would have three years to comply with all of the bill’s requirements. Some state governments and other critics of the bill have derided it as an unfunded federal mandate, with some estimates placing the cost to states at a half billion dollars.