Montana and Washington state defied the U.S. government this week, enacting state laws to reject the 2005 federal Real ID Act and increasing pressure on Congress to amend or repeal national standards for driver's licenses, reports Stateline.org. The federal law sets uniform security features for driver's licenses and requires states to verify the identity of all driver's license applicants. The Washington law bars that state from complying unless the federal government comes up with an extra $250 million to cover the state’s expenses.
Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire said the Real ID Act “is another unfunded mandate from the federal government and, even worse, it doesn't protect the privacy of the citizens of Washington.” In all, 30 states have passed or are considering proposals condemning the license standards. State lawmakers have criticized the costs and deadlines imposed on states as a federal intrusion into what had been a state responsibility that raises the specter of a national ID card. “When a state like Montana tells the federal government to take a hike, it brings down the whole house of cards. If there was ever any question that Congress would be forced to revisit this misguided law, there is no more,” said Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union.