N.H. Gov. signs bill that rejects federal Real ID law

Says financial, personal costs too high for state's residents

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch last week signed into law a bill that forbids New Hampshire government agencies from complying with the controversial federal national identification act, or Real ID bill.

The New Hampshire Legislature had overwhelming passed the bill this past spring and handed it off to Lynch, who signed it on June 27.

"Real ID is intended to make us all safer, which I think we can all agree is a laudable goal," said Lynch in a statement. "However, I strongly believe Real ID's proposed haphazard implementation and onerous provisions would have the exact opposite effect. The federal government obviously did not think this burdensome system through and that is why we in New Hampshire are right to reject it."

Among the reasons for opposing the legislation, Lynch said, were its implementation costs, the likelihood that it would compromise the privacy of citizens and the burden likely to be imposed on state employees who must comply with its guidelines.

The ever-evolving Real ID law, first passed by Congress in 2005, currently requires that all state driver's licenses and other identification cards include a digital photograph and a bar code that can be scanned by electronic readers. Such a federally approved ID card or document would be required for people entering a federal building, nuclear power plant and commercial airplane.

The law currently would bar access to such facilities without a Real ID card. However, New Hampshire legislators are hoping widespread opposition to the federal law will cause it to collapse.

"Today, we are sending a strong message to the federal government -- we are not about to be coerced into another unfunded federal mandate, especially not one that we will pay for with our privacy," stated Lynch.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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