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Public Statements

Gov. Sanford Raises Concerns over Federal REAL ID / PASS ID law

Press Release

Location: Columbia, SC

Gov. Sanford Raises Concerns over Federal REAL ID / PASS ID law

In light of ongoing revisions to the federal REAL ID law - now renamed PASS ID - Gov. Sanford today outlined three main concerns as policymakers in Washington, DC continue modifying what is now widely regarded as an impractical, intrusive federal mandate.

In March of last year, Gov. Sanford refused to apply for an extension of the federally imposed deadline on compliance with REAL ID - in effect forcing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to issue an assurance that South Carolinians would not be penalized because of the state's non-compliance. Gov. Sanford argued that the South Carolina DMV had already met 90 percent of REAL ID's benchmarks; that the legislation had never been properly debated in Congress; that the law represented a $9 billion unfunded mandate; and - most importantly - that REAL ID presented serious threats to individual liberty.

Since then, federal authorities - in particular the Department of Homeland Security, led by Sec. Janet Napolitano, and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, led by Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Collins - have worked with the National Governors Association to revise REAL ID. "I'd give real credit to Secretary Napolitano, Senator Lieberman, and the NGA for their work in easing the enormous unfunded burden this law would impose on the states," Gov. Sanford said. "Still, going forward, there are four issues with the PASS ID that we would like to see addressed."

Gov. Sanford outlined four main concerns with the PASS ID legislation:

* If there are going to be secondary levels of screening under this law, that ought to be defined now.
* The allegedly "voluntary" pilot program establishing a centralized "hub" of citizens' identities should be removed from the legislation. History suggests that such "voluntary" programs become mandatory once the federal government consolidates its authority and oversight.
* PASS ID does not prohibit the use of RFID (radio frequency identification) technology in drivers' licenses, which makes citizens susceptible to tracking by public and private entities, including hackers.
* PASS ID does not provide adequate protection to the identities of victims of criminal domestic violence.

Gov. Sanford sent a letter to Secretary Napolitano outlining these concerns on May 5 of this year. An additional letter following up on the issue will be sent today to Senator Lieberman today.

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