REAL ID prevails

Democrats in the Nevada Legislature appear to be following the example of their national counterparts and caving in on the issue of REAL ID.

The 2005 federal mandate, approved during the Bush administration, imposes authentication and issuance standards on state driver licenses and identification cards in order for them to be used for federal “official purposes,” as defined by homeland security officials. Essentially, it creates a national ID card, though design features may differ from state to state. It has raised concerns about both privacy and overreaching federal mandates and has united those on both left and right—advocates for civil liberies, gun ownership, privacy. Its implementation slowed to a crawl after President Obama took office, but the Democratic Congress has been reluctant to repeal it. Four-fifths of the states have declined to comply.

In Nevada, Democrats in the Nevada Legislature were angered when the Gibbons administration went ahead and implemented the program after they stalled the program and withheld funding for it. But last week when Department of Motor Vehicles director Edgar Roberts, trying to keep the program alive, proposed that it be made optional for drivers, Democratic legislators went along.

The DMV spent $2 million on the program, $750,000 of it state money.