Hey, our driver's licenses might not be sort-of-worthless now.
Minnesota's state lawmakers have been under pressure to get our licenses up to the federal standard called Real ID.
Right now, because we aren't compliant, we can not use our driver's licenses to get into some government facilities. And starting next January, our licenses won't be enough to get through security at the airport; you'll need another approved ID, like a passport.
A compromise bill that lets the state create and issue driver's licenses that follow the Real ID standards was passed overwhelmingly by both the House (120-11) and Senate (57-8) Wednesday night.
It should be in place by 2020, and one lawmaker told the Star Tribune the state will probably be able to get an extension from the federal government allowing normal driver's licenses to work at airports until then.
You wouldn't be required to get a Real ID driver's license. You could still buy essentially the same license you get now, if you don't care about the airport security/federal facility issues. Both types of licenses would cost the same.
Look, even Andrew Zimmern is relieved they finally figured this out.
One big hang-up: licenses for undocumented immigrants
One big hurdle between the governor and GOP lawmakers during this whole ordeal had to do with driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants.
The bill that initially passed the House had language that specifically said undocumented residents can not get a driver's license, Session Daily explains. That policy exists already as a rule, but this would have made it state law.
Gov. Mark Dayton and state Democrats had a big problem with including that in a bill about Real ID, and it led to some political posturing earlier this spring.
This compromise bill that was passed does not include any of that language regarding undocumented residents. It got taken out.
Tom Hauser with KSTP tweeted Wednesday, before the bill was passed, Dayton said he was likely to sign it.
Also, they're still fighting over the budget
Real ID is just one of the issues the governor and lawmakers are going down to the wire on.
Dayton vetoed all 10 big budget bills the Republican-controlled House and Senate sent to him. They've been negotiating since to come up with a solution both sides can tolerate. But they've only got until May 22 to figure it out – so the clock is ticking.
They met Wednesday evening, and the governor proposed what he called a "meet halfway" offer. It does not seem to have gone over well with Republicans. Read the Pioneer Press' rundown here.
If this regular legislative session ends without a budget approved by lawmakers and signed by the governor, they'll have to come back for a special session to get it done before the end of June – otherwise we could be looking at our first government shutdown since 2011.