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About that 'Real ID' thing: Officials point fingers ahead of meeting


State lawmakers need to talk about Real ID.

This week, Gov. Mark Dayton urged leading legislators to OK a special session – partly because of an issue with Minnesota state IDs, which are currently not compliant with federal standards, called Real ID.

As of right now, a current Minnesota driver’s license won't get you into certain federal facilities or nuclear power plants. At some point in the future (if it doesn't change) that license will no longer be acceptable identification to get on a commercial airline flight either.

The feds will give Minnesota 120 days notice on when that will happen.

The Star Tribune says House Republicans put out a plan that would get Minnesota compliant – but in 2018.

That led the DFLer Dayton Wednesday to accuse GOP party leaders of not being proactive enough on the issue, WCCO reports.

Special session likely needed

Actually getting the state's driver's licenses and IDs where they need to be – at least in the eyes of federal law – is a bit more complicated.

Because of a decision in 2009 to not comply with Real ID standards over privacy concerns, state lawmakers have to get together to repeal that law before they can make changes to work toward compliance.

Some people, including Dayton, argue lawmakers need to do that in a special session. But that's looking less likely.

Dayton has said he wants to know by Friday whether lawmakers will hold a special session (before the regular session starts in March).

But on Wednesday, Republican Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt, of Crown, said it's Dayton who is holding things up by not offering any specific ideas, MPR reports. Daudt said his party has a plan, and it's the governor's lack of actual proposals that's getting in the way.

Don Davis with Forum News Service described the possibility of a special session as "on life support" – but said neither Daudt nor Dayton said it was dead.

There's a legislative working group Thursday morning at 10 a.m. to talk about how Minnesota may start to move toward complying with the federal law. You can watch it live here. There will be some public testimony, though only about 20 minutes' worth.

It'll include 21 House members and 10 Senate members, and a short public testimony period.

Some lawmakers reactions

Sen. David Hann, a Republican and Senate Minority Leader, put out a statement Wednesday on Real ID. He said there's "no reason" to call a special session to repeal the old Real ID law, arguing the 120-day warning will be plenty of time to take action. In addition, Hann said the first order of business during the regular legislative session can be to undo the 2009 law.

Paul Thissen, a DFLer and House Minority Leader, put out an email statement in response to the GOP plan that would make the state complaint in 2018. He said lawmakers should work "quickly to implement a fix" that'll give Minnesotans more "certainty." He said he hopes the legislative working group will help lead to a consensus.

Rep. Carly Melin, a Hibbing DFLer, weighed in on Twitter.

Sen. Sean Nienow, a Cambridge Republican, called the special session push from Dayton a publicity stunt.

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