Portland Press Herald
March 26, 2008

Maine’s governor is asking the federal government not to penalize Maine travelers this spring, based on the state’s failure to comply with the Real ID act.

In a letter today to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Gov. John Baldacci noted a state law, passed amid privacy and civil rights concerns, that prohibits Maine from complying with the act. But he said the state has made progress in meeting many of the requirments of Real ID, and asked that Mainers not be subjected to extra security or travel delays.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has set a March 31 deadlines for states to request a waiver that would give them more time to comply with the act, which requires new security measures for state-issued driver’s licenses. The act was passed after the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. After May 11, residents would be unable to use Maine licenses as valid IDs to board airplanes or enter federal buildings.

Baldacci’s letter also noted legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Tom Allen, D-Maine, that seeks to repeal Real ID and negotiate a new rule-making process.

Allen on Tuesday sent a similar letter to Chertoff outlining his concerns and his efforts to repeal Real ID.

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