'Real ID' driver's licenses studied by an interim Legislative committee | Prairie Public Broadcasting

'Real ID' driver's licenses studied by an interim Legislative committee

Mar 22, 2016

Glenn Jackson, director, Driver's License division of the North Dakota Department of Transportation, testifies before the Legislature's interim Judiciary Committee.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s Driver’s License division says North Dakota currently has a waiver from the Department of Homeland Security for its licenses – which are not yet compliant with the federal “Real ID” act.

Glenn Jackson says the waiver is set to expire this October. He told the Legislature’s interim Judiciary Committee DOT is now discussing what to do – and that could include asking for another waiver. He says it isn’t certain whether the feds will grant another waiver. Jackson says no matter what happens, the state needs to meet the Real ID requirements by October, 2020.

"No North Dakota driver's license or identification card will be useful for federal ID purposes, such as access to federal facilities or boarding aircraft, after October first, 2020," Jackson told the Committee. "It could be earlier, if we lose our waiver, unless we become 'Real ID' compliant."

Jackson says DOT is getting ready to comply. He says it may take legislation for some minor budget adjustments, but most of it can be done without changing state law.

Jackson said “Real ID” is being pushed by the federal Department of Homeland Security to stop fraud. Jackson says opponents have tried to label it as an overreach by the federal government. He says the main misunderstanding is it would be a federal ID program – and the federal government would have access to a lot of personal information.

"The reality is -- the data doesn't change," Jackson said. "It stays ours. It stays in the state. It doesn't go anywhere."

Jackson said there's no provision in the Real ID act that says North Dakota has to share the data with the federal government. He said that's not the point of the law.

"The point is to issue a credential that meets the standard of fraud prevention, identification, verification of  ID, mand making sure the document itself has certain fraud prevention technologies built into it," said Jackson. "It's achieving a higher standard."