Senate Rejects Federal ID Rules

John O’Connor, The State (Columbia, S.C.), April 4, 2007

The state Senate has rejected new federal rules for issuing driver’s licenses over concerns about the cost and effect on state residents.

The federal plan, known as Real ID, set stricter standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. The rules were recommended to help prevent terrorists or illegal immigrants from forging licenses.

But many senators objected to the cost of the new standardsas much as $28 million in the first year and $10 million per year afterand the May 2008 deadline to put the rules in place.

The bill (S.449) says South Carolina will not comply unless the federal government pays the additional cost and addresses concerns about the rules.

Lawmakers also are concerned about what Real ID would mean to S.C. residents, especially the estimated 700,000 retirees who might not be able to produce the birth certificates, Social Security cards or other documents required to receive a new ID.

The Department of Motor Vehicles also warned the rules could mean long waits at DMV offices and increased cost of a license.

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Snyder said she has her birth certificate and other documents, but working full time and serving as a foster parent, she worried about waiting hours in line at the DMV.

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State Law Enforcement Division Chief Robert Stewart said there is no way to know whether the rules will prevent forgeries because many of the databases required to verify birth certificates and other documents have yet to be set up.

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