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Monday morning (Jan 30) Tom Egelhoff spoke with D. Brian Zimmer, president of Keeping Identities Safe Coalition For A Secure Driver’s License headquartered in Washington, D.C. (Audio of the interview at the end of this blog post)

As of Monday, Montana was in violation of the Real ID Act of 2005.

Unless Montana complies with the Real ID Act of 2005, your Montana license will not allow you access to any federal facilities, and in January of 2018 you will not be able to board a plane without some other form of approved government ID such as a passport.

What Violations Pertain To Montana?

According to Zimmer, Montana is in violation of the Real ID Act of 2005 for the following reasons.

  • Workers at the DMV who are issuing Montana Drivers Licenses are not subject to background checks.
  • People applying for Montana Drivers Licenses don’t have to prove they are citizens with a birth certificate or some other document that proves they are US citizens.
  • Montana does not keep a permanent record of photos taken when driver’s licenses are issued for future identification.
  • Montana DMV’s may or may not check that the person could have a license from another state. (This is not part of the Real ID Act but sounds like a good idea.)

I did ask Zimmer how California issues their driver’s licenses, because there are numerous reports of illegal aliens getting driver’s licenses quite easily.

It seems that California has a two-tier system. There are those who can’t fly or enter a public building with their “opt-out” license. However, few illegals want to use those federal buildings or fly on a plane, but they can drive and work illegally in California.

The rest of California brings proof of citizenship and complies with the law. Not sure if different IDs are issued for “opt-in” or “opt-out.”

Funding for the Real Id Act

According to Zimmer, the federal government provided $300 million in grants to states to implement the law. Forty eight states have received funding and Montana was not one of them.

Real ID Data Base

Zimmer was quick to point out that the US government is not creating a database where all drivers’ licenses are kept. The only changes he documented will be the ones at the DMV level.

Some Final Thoughts

There is nothing that says any citizen must comply with the Real ID Act. This law applies to how DMVs provide drivers' licenses.

I’m still on the fence as to whether we really need this law in Montana. After all, we’re all armed. You can wear a gun on your hip anywhere in Montana. If we can’t be trusted to fly or enter a federal building, I’m not sure who could be.

But I guess we’ll find out in the next 12 months. Or, there’s going to be a run on the passport office at the Main Post Office.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Comments below.

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