Minnesota driver's licenses may not be an acceptable form of identification to get through airport security, and now Gov. Mark Dayton says he'd call a special session if needed to fix the issue.
Minnesota is one of four states with licenses and state ID cards that aren't compliant with the Department of Homeland Security's Real ID Act, which Congress passed in 2005 in an effort to increase security features on ID cards as a counterterrorism measure in response to the Sept. 11 attacks.
The government has been phasing in the Real ID Act, and phase four – which affects air travel – is scheduled to roll out sometime in 2016 (the exact date hasn't been announced).
At that point, Minnesotans will need to present a form of acceptable ID – like a passport – to pass through airport security or to enter some federal buildings. Minnesotans with the "enhanced" driver's licenses or ID cards will be able to use them to get through airport security, however, Homeland Security notes.
The state's noncompliance was intentional. Following Congress passing the Real ID Act, Minnesota passed a law in 2009 prohibiting the state from complying or planning to comply with the act in hopes of giving the state leverage in negotiating with the federal government – but those talks never happened, the Pioneer Press says.
Those against the Real ID Act, including Minnesota lawmakers from both parties, the ACLU and privacy activists, called the Real ID "a de facto internal passport," the Pioneer Press notes. Many were against the new ID requirements because of the cost and their potential impact on privacy, opponents note.
At a news conference Tuesday, Gov. Mark Dayton urged lawmakers to repeal the state law, saying the Legislature "went overboard" and continuing to refuse compliance with the Real ID Act "would be equally senseless," the Pioneer Press reports.
Dayton said he has spoken with Homeland Security, which indicated that "they would come up with an updating of that January 2016 deadline before the end of this year," but if the deadline goes unchanged, a special session may be needed, the Star Tribune says.
"We would prefer not to call a special session," Dayton added.
MPR News looks at the long and complicated road to resolve the ID issue, saying it would take "significant cooperation between state and federal authorities."