Saturday, February 3

Maine Legislature Refuses Passage of REAL ID ACT

Setting a good example for other state legislatures to emulate by drawing a line in the sand against DC neo-conic fascism.

The REAL ID ACT--a bill requiring that states verify drivers licenses applicants are who they say they are and then submit that data to a national database--is scheduled to become the law of the land 11 May 2008, three years after it passed the U.S. House hidden as a "rider" in the folds of a voluminous piece of military legsilation.

But Maine says it won't be playing along with the fascist subterfuge. Last week (Thursday, 25 January), the Maine legislature passed a resolution--the House voted in favor 137-4 with the Senate unanimous, 34-0--refusing to comply with the REAL ID ACT of 2005, yet another unfunded federal mandate foisted on the states.

According to the editorial collective at Wikipedia, the REAL ID ACT not only was sneaked through the House but its sponsors weren't that impressed with the legislation, either.

The Real ID act started off as H.R. 418, which passed the House (261-161-11) and went stagnant. It was then attached as a rider on a military spending bill (H.R. 1268) by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R) of Wisconsin (the author) and was voted upon (100-0) . It was signed into public law (109-13) on May 11, 2005.

The Thomas bill summaries for both H.R. 418 and H.R. 1268 show voting records and show who are supporters and proponents of this act and why they do or do not support it. It should be noted that cosponsors of the original legislation to which REAL ID was attached do not necessarily support this bill.

"It's a national ID card on steroids," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Technology and Liberty Project. "This will indeed be a real nightmare."

Below is the text of the Maine legislature's Resolution. Will Democrats now in charge of Congress honor the request and begin scaling back American post-9/11 fascism? Inquiring minds want to know.

WE, your Memorialists, the Members of the One Hundred and Twenty-Third Legislature of the State of Maine now assembled, most respectfully present and petition the President of the United States and the United States Congress, as follows:

WHEREAS, the federal REAL ID Act of 2005 mandates an unfunded national driver's license on the people of Maine, and;

WHEREAS, implementation of REAL ID would cost Maine taxpayers approximately $185 million, and;

WHEREAS, the REAL ID national database will invite theft of identity and invasion of privacy, and;

WHEREAS, REAL ID will impose inconveniences and higher taxes on Mainers with no attendant benefit such as protections from terrorism; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED: that Maine State Legislature refuses to implement the REAL ID Act and thereby protest the treatment by Congress and the President of the states as agents of the federal government; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Maine State Legislature implores the United States Congress to repeal the REAL ID Act of 2005; and be it further

RESOLVED: That official copies of this resolution, duly authenticated by the Secretary of State, be transmitted to the Honorable George W. Bush, President of the United States; the Honorable Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff; the Honorable John E. Baldacci, Governor of the State of Maine; Richard Cheney, President of the United States Senate; Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives; and each member of the Maine Congressional Delegation.

Postscript: According to this 25 January 2007 report, 28 states are considering legislation requiring their state government "to refuse compliance with the federal Real ID Act" on the grounds it violates a key statue of the U.S. Constitution's 10th Amendment:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

The National Conference of State Legislatures provides around-the-nation regular updates on the Real ID ACT here.

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