Oregon being told to spend $16M on Real ID Act

11/21/13. State must spend millions for Real ID law. Anna Staver, statesmanjournal.com

Oregon would need to spend $16.3 million during the next six years to upgrade security measures for its driver’s licenses, or the federal government could refuse to recognize Oregon IDs for things like boarding a plane.

That’s according to a report from Oregon’s Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division that was requested by senators on the Business and Transportation interim committee.

The REAL ID Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005, required each state to add 39 specific elements to its processes for issuing IDs.

For example: The law requires states to save images of birth certificates and to re-verify Social Security numbers each time a person renews his or her ID.

Oregon meets 28 of the 39 standards, which means the state failed to meet the extended compliance deadline in January 2013. The law’s original compliance deadline was May 2008.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has certified 20 states as being REAL ID compliant — Washington, California, Idaho and Nevada also are non-compliant.

Homeland Security officials have “implied” they will be issuing a new compliance schedule sometime this winter, DMV spokesman David House said.

The schedule should come with a grace period where visitors to federal buildings and airline passengers from state without REAL IDs would be warned but still allowed to pass security. House said he doesn’t know how long that grace period would be or when it would start.

In 2009, Oregon lawmakers passed a bill preventing state agencies from using state dollars to implement the changes required by the federal law unless federal dollars were coming to cover those costs.

That means lawmakers would need to reverse that law as well as pass new legislation to requiring the DMV to do things such as add a security marking to IDs to show the state is in compliance with the federal law.

The estimated costs per budget would be $4.8 million in 2015-17, $5.8 million in 2017-19 and $5.7 million in 2019-21, according to the report.

The most expensive budget item — with a price tag of about $7.3 million — is the imaging and storage of all the legal documents Oregonians will have to turn over to employees at DMV field offices.

Another option for Oregon is to ask Homeland Security for a permanent exemption from some parts of the law.

“We could say ‘OK, we may not meet on these requirements, but we have things that we do that are above and beyond,’ ” House said. “So, even though we don’t meet every point, maybe we are close enough.”

Oregonians with valid licenses or ID cards that expire after Homeland Security’s grace period won’t have to replace their cards immediately, House said.

“When you come in to renew or replace your license, that’s when you would have to meet the new requirement,” House said.

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