Ohio’s Adoption of Real ID Highlights Controversy

Seal of the United States Department of Homela...

REAL ID is a federal effort to help prevent terrorism and fraud by improving the integrity and security of driver licenses (DL) and identification (ID) cards. In order for a state to issue REAL ID compliant DL and ID cards, the state must meet a set of requirements put in place by the REAL ID Act of 2005 and must self-certify its compliance to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  It was supposed to be implemented by May 11, 2011.  You may remember the crisis of whether or not you would be able to get on an airplane with just your state identification.  The crisis was averted when Homeland Security bowed to pressure from all corners.  Well, the Real ID Act is not dead.

A recent Dayton Daily News article highlighted the latest news about the adoption of the controversial 2005 Real ID Act.  REAL ID is a federal effort to help prevent terrorism and fraud by improving the integrity and security of driver licenses (DL) and identification (ID) cards.  With full implementation, you will need to show your Real ID card to get into federal buildings, get on a flight, and interact with your financial institution and a host of federal agencies.  In order for a state to issue REAL ID compliant drivers’ licenses and ID cards, the state must meet a set of requirements put in place by the REAL ID Act of 2005 and must self-certify its compliance to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Ohio has received $4.33 million in grants from 2008 to 2011 to get the state Real ID ready.  Despite the grants, Ohio has not fully implemented the Real ID Act, but has taken steps by revamping the Ohio driver’s license.  The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles saying that it is in “material compliance” with the Act.  What does that mean?  According to the BMV, “Materially compliant means the state has met specific standards and is moving toward implementing all of the REAL ID Act requirements in the future. Driver licenses and ID cards that are REAL ID materially compliant will have a solid gold star displayed in the header.”  According to the Department of Homeland Security, Ohio is among 36 states that are materially compliant or likely will be by the deadline of Jan. 15, 2013.

The question is whether or not the Real ID Act will ever be fully implemented.  Fifteen states have passed bipartisan resolutions against the laws implementation and ten states have passed resolutions condemning the act.  Opponents to the Act can be found on all points of the political spectrum.  On the left you have civil libertarians who oppose the potential enforcement abuses and loss of privacy rights.  Immigration proponents and opponents find much to hate in the Act.  Libertarians object to the government imposing itself into issues of whether or not you can get on a flight or get into a courthouse or federal building.  States rights activists oppose being told what to do.  Bioethicists question the use of biometrics and DNA as a form of identification for governmental purposes.  Computer security experts raise concerns about having a hack-able database which, if cyber-attacked could cripple every facet of American life.  MorphoTrust, the French-based company who will produce the cards and the database has even had its connections to China (a forty + year relationship) brought into question.  Christian groups and the “new world order” crowds see the Real ID as the mark of the beast and proof of a coming global conspiracy and have started the Stop Real ID Coalition.   U.S. House Subcommittee on the Judiciary regarding the Real ID Act, Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, has said, “If we don’t do everything in our power to fully implement REAL ID, we set ourselves up for another attack.”

So where does that leave us?  Realistically, new Ohio driver’s licenses and identification cards debuting in January 2013 likely will cost more, require additional documentation and take longer to get.  A more optimistic view may be that we are entering a less fear-based approach to federal legislation.  If we can question the propriety of the Real ID Act, perhaps we can gather the courage to look anew at the more onerous legacies of 9/11 like the Patriot Act. rendition and spying on our own citizens.  Let’s get back to being Americans again by arguing about our freedoms.  As Hubert H. Humphrey said, “Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.”

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in Dayton and throughout the Miami Valley.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter@DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebookwww.facebook.com/daytondui and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.