State Groups Acknowledge Final Real ID Regulations

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With just 120 days before the implementation deadline, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today released final Real ID regulations. According to the National Governors Association (NGA), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), their members now have the ability to thoroughly evaluate the new national mandate and what it means for states and citizens.

"State leaders are dedicated to protecting our citizens and share a strong commitment to ensuring the integrity and security of their driver's license systems," said NGA Executive Director Raymond C. Scheppach. "Finalizing these regulations was a necessary step to allow states to determine whether the act can be implemented in a cost-effective and feasible manner."

Governors, state legislators and motor vehicle administrators are pleased that many of the regulations seem to reflect comments and recommendations submitted by the three groups to DHS, including extending compliance deadlines and giving states flexibility to manage their systems and make them more secure. DHS also recognized that the implementation cost was an issue by making changes to reduce costs to states. Their estimate remains significant at $3.9 billion. To date, however, Congress has appropriated less than 3 percent of the projected costs to assist states.

"Together, we initially estimated Real ID would cost states more than $11 billion. These regulations offer states some flexibility that may tame those costs," said William T. Pound, NCSL executive director. "Still, the fact remains that the administration has not asked Congress to fund state costs, and Congress has only provided states $90 million. State legislators have to balance budgets and make difficult choices among many competing priorities. These regulations are federal standards and deserve federal funds."

The three national organizations plan to continue to review the rule and meet with state stakeholders to determine the impact of the regulations.

"Through an extensive process, our membership used their technical expertise in issuing drivers' licenses to provide DHS with a broad range of concerns and suggestions," said Neil D. Schuster, AAMVA president and CEO. "We are encouraged that the agency took these into account when crafting the final rule. We will conduct an in-depth analysis of the final rule to provide the best possible information and assistance to our members."

NGA Contact: Jodi Omear, 202-624-5301; 703-474-2668

NCSL Contact: Michelle Blackston , 202-624-8667

AAMVA Contact: Jason King , 703-908-8287

Real ID State Activity

Overall Legislative Activity

-- In 2007, 44 states considered approximately 145 bills or resolutions related to REAL ID.

-- 25 states passed 37 bills or resolutions

Anti-REAL ID Legislation

-- Legislative bodies in 21 states have passed legislation in opposition to REAL ID.

States that Prohibit REAL ID Compliance or "opt out" of REAL ID

-- 6 states prohibit compliance with REAL ID by statute. Those states are Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Washington. All six states passed their laws in 2007.

Other State Legislation Opposed to REAL ID

-- Idaho's 2007 appropriation bill included a line item appropriating $0 for REAL ID implementation in 2008.

-- Legislative bodies in 15 states passed resolutions or memorials that urged Congress to amend or repeal REAL ID or indicated the state's intent to not comply. Those states are Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

-- Georgia authorized its governor to delay REAL ID implementation if certain conditions are not met.

Compliance legislation

-- Indiana and Nevada are the only two states that have passed bills intended to bring the state closer to compliance with REAL ID.

-- Ohio passed a bill that directs the Director of the Department of Public Safety to request a time extension from DHS for REAL ID compliance.

-- Michigan passed a resolution that memorializes DHS and the State Department to establish pilot programs for compliance with REAL ID and WHTI.

Other Legislation

-- Virginia's budget bill directs the Department of Motor Vehicles to direct motor vehicle license renewal transactions in a way that mitigates the effects of REAL ID on customer service. It also requires the DMV to retain nearly $10 million for information technology initiatives and the implementation of REAL ID.

-- Nevada passed a bill that authorizes spending for REAL ID compliance.

-- Tennessee appropriated money for REAL ID implementation.

State Legislators Available to Respond to Newly Released Real ID Regulations

State Legislators

Sen. Richard T. Moore , (D-Mass.)

Chair, Massachusetts Senate Health Care Financing Committee

Member, NCSL Executive Committee

Co-Chair, NCSL Task Force on Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

Available 9 a.m.-10 p.m. ET any day

Contact Shawn Collins at (508) 208-7558

Sen. Bruce Starr , (R-OR.)

Vice Chair, Oregon Senate Business, Transportation and Workforce Development Committee

Member, NCSL Executive Committee

Immediate Past Chair, NCSL Standing Committee on Transportation

Contact (503) 310-7500

Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, (D-Texas)

Chair, Texas Senate Democratic Caucus

Immediate Past President, National Conference of State Legislatures

Contact Tiffany Champion at 210-733-6421

NCSL Experts

Jeremy D. Meadows

Senior Policy Director: Trade & Transportation

State-Federal Relations Division


(202) 624-8664, or (202) 413-0886

Garner Girthoffer

Policy Specialist

State-Federal Relations Division


(202) 624-7753


The National Conference of State Legislators believes Congress must provide states at least $1 billion for the start-up costs.

-- Congress only appropriated $50 million for FY 2008 to assist states with the implementation of the Real ID.

-- Prior to this year, only $40 million has been appropriated (for FY2006) for state implementation.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.

Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation's governors and one of Washington, D.C.'s most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 50 states, three territories and two commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. For more information, visit

The National Conference of State Legislatures is the bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staff of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system. For more information, visit

The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) is a nonprofit organization committed to enhancing safety and security through motor vehicle administration and law enforcement. AAMVA develops model programs in motor vehicle administration, law enforcement and highway safety. The association's programs encourage uniformity and reciprocity among the states and provinces, and liaisons with other levels of government and the private sector. Founded in 1933, AAMVA represents the state and provincial officials in the United States and Canada who administer and enforce motor vehicle laws.

SOURCE National Conference of State Legislatures