February 20, 2009
As governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano was no fan of the Real ID program that sets federal standards for state-issued driver’s licenses which will be required in the future to board airplanes.
Now that she is Homeland Security secretary and overseeing the department that governs the contentious law, Miss Napolitano says she wants to examine “realistic options” with the officials who must put the program into action – the nation’s governors.
Specifically, Miss Napolitano said she is looking at Washington state’s modified version of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative program. The Pacific state issues security-enhanced driver’s licenses that are accepted for crossing into the state from Canada.
In addition to Arizona, more than a dozen states have passed legislation prohibiting the implementation of the Real ID program, and similar legislation passed by the Virginia House and Senate last week is awaiting Gov. Tim Kaine’s signature.
“Governors are committed to improving the security and integrity of state driver’s licenses and identification systems, but the timelines and requirements mandated by Real ID are unrealistic,” the National Governors Association (NGA) says in its policy position paper.
The NGA calls the program an unfunded mandate of $11 billion over five years that its members cannot afford.