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DHS denies MN time extension for driver's license security upgrade

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Minnesota has been denied a time extension to comply with federal rules requiring state residents to have enhanced identification to board domestic flights and enter federal buildings.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed in a letter to the office of Gov. Mark Dayton that the state must comply with REAL ID standards, meaning Minnesota driver's licenses from now on can't be used to get into federal facilities – including military bases.

They are, however, still being accepted for domestic flights, with the DHS soon to decide whether it will serve Minnesota with the 120 days' notice required before a REAL ID is needed to get on a commercial airplane.

Dayton had asked to delay the implementation of ID requirements until March so the legislature could discuss it when it reconvenes – but the rejection now increases the likelihood of a special session being called, according to the Pioneer Press' Rachel Stassen-Berger.

"Minnesota has not provided adequate justification for continued noncompliance with the Real ID standards that would warrant granting your request for extension," the DHS wrote to Dayton.

The Real ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 and went into effect in 2008, as a way to increase security and deter identity fraud in a post-9/11 world. The law requires all state identification cards to have a minimum set of requirements.

But Minnesota's legislature passed a law in 2009 prohibiting the state from upgrading its driver's licenses, amid concerns the new requirements could allow the government to track people's whereabouts or access their private information.

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