(Portland Press Herald) -- Maine licenses don't comply with the new federal standards, meaning that since July residents haven't been able to access some federal sites without additional identification. If Maine does not change the design to meet the Real ID requirement, in 2016 residents won't be able to board commercial plane with their license.
The Real ID requirement is supposed to make licenses more uniform and secure, as a response to the Sept.11 attacks. Congress passed the legislation in 2005 and the implementation occurs in steps. On April 21, 2014, Real IDs were required to access restricted areas at the Department of Homeland Security. On July 21, that extended to all restricted federal sites, including nuclear plants. Real IDs will be required to enter semi-restricted areas in federal facilities.The last phase, which will occur in 2016, mandates that U.S. citizens with a driver's license or identification card from a noncompliant state must use a second form of ID, like a passport, for boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.
The federal government said that it is not trying to create a national ID nor will it keep records on licenses or identification. The act does require states to maintain a database of license applicants' information that the federal government can access and take photos of applicants that can be scanned by facial recognition software. In 2011 the Maine Legislature voted to prohibit the state from complying because of privacy concerns and federal overreach.
The ranking minority member on the Judiciary Committee, Representative Jarrod Crockett tells our media partners at the Portland Press Herald that, "We're going to have to work with the federal government at some point, it's just a matter of time."
Maine has implemented some of the requirements, such as barring illegal immigrants from getting licenses, using a federal database to verify the residency documents, making sure that non-resident driver's licenses expire when their legal status in the United States ends, and preventing people from getting multiple Maine licenses or ID cards.
Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Alaska, Arizona, and Louisiana have also refused to comply to the Real ID act.