No solution in sight for the problems with Minnesota driver's licenses

There are 3 lines in the bill that Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans are arguing over.

We are 10 months away from Minnesotans not being able to use a driver's license to get through airport security.

And a proposal to address that ahead of time failed in the state Senate Monday, mainly because of disagreements over undocumented immigrants and driver's licenses.

You have probably heard the term "Real ID" by now – it's a set of standards for driver's licenses and IDs created by the federal government more than a decade ago. Almost every state has reworked its laws to get their IDs up to snuff.

Minnesota, however, dragged its feet for years over privacy concerns. One repercussion: right now, a Minnesota driver's license isn't sufficient to get someone into certain military facilities. And in January of 2018, it won't be acceptable ID for getting on domestic flights at the airport.

As one of the five states that hasn't gotten onboard, Minnesota lawmakers are facing a tight timeline to agree on a solution. The latest hurdle to get the state compliant: The Minnesota Senate voted against its version of a Real ID bill Monday.

The bill was rejected by a 39-28 vote – with licenses for undocumented immigrants and language around that issue the main sticking point.

Pointing fingers ... still

Both Democrats and Republicans are accusing each other of complicating the issue.

Right now, undocumented immigrants cannot get a Minnesota driver's license – you have to show proof of citizenship or legal residency.

Senate Democrats are accusing Senate Republicans of including language in the Real ID bill that would prevent any changes being made to identification requirements for getting a driver's license. To get specific, it's these lines:

So for example, this would apparently prevent Gov. Mark Dayton from creating a new license for undocumented immigrants, something he told the Pioneer Press last week he wants to do.

Sen. Scott Dibble, a Democrat, offered an amendment that would have gotten rid of those sentences, but it was rejected.

His fellow DFLers havetakentoTwitter, accusing the Republicans of not offering a "clean" bill that focuses strictly on Real ID. Here's one example.

Republicans are, naturally, pushing back.

The Minnesota Senate GOP argues the Real ID bill doesn't make any changes to current law, and called the DFL complaints a "phony issue."

Sen. Eric Pratt meanwhile argued the Democrats' amendments just opened up loopholes, the communications director tweeted.

And here's Paul Gazelka, the top Republican in the Senate.

A few Republicans had other concerns

Now you might be wondering – Republicans have a 34-33 majority in the Senate, so if they had full party support, couldn't the bill have passed?

The Star Tribune reports a few GOP lawmakers split from their party because of concerns about privacy.

Those Republicans, combined with every DFL senator voting against the Real ID bill, sunk it. The Pioneer Press has a great breakdown of who voted for and against the bill.

So what happens now?

Remember, the House and Senate have to pass an identical bill – then the governor has to sign it – for something to become law.

The Senate voting down this Real ID bill Monday means they'll have to rework it and hold another vote if they want something to get done.

A couple weeks ago, the House passed its version of a Real ID bill, with mostly Republicans voting for it, and mostly Democrats voting against it. It included language that makes Minnesota's current policy of not issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants into law – despite some DFL lawmakers' attempts to strip that from the bill.

Next Up

vote, vote now

MN Supreme Court dismisses attempt to block election certification

Another legal defeat for Republicans challenging the election.

prison, Rush City cell block

Another Minnesota prison inmate dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

The virus has killed at least six Minnesota inmates.

leech lake band of ojibwe sign

11,760 acres of land wrongly taken from Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will be returned

The Senate and now the House have passed a bill that effectively returns the land. It's now headed for the president's signature.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves release first half of 2020-21 regular season schedule

The second half of the schedule will be announced at a later date.

reindeer como zoo

Watch live: Como Zoo's live reindeer cam is back for December

The live feed will run 24/7 allowing you to keep an eye on Santa's antlered helpers.


Three simple ways to boost your immune health heading into winter

Eating right is one thing, but there are other ways to stay healthy as the days shorten.

Taylor Rogers

Why Twins fans shouldn't give up on Taylor Rogers

The Twins closer struggled in 2020 but could rebound next season.

Co. Rd. 2 crash, Wakefield Twp.

Teen driver leaves road, crashes into three trees

Fortunately, the 16-year-old was not injured.

mndot deer  tunnel 1

Minnesota is getting its first highway crossing for animals

This will provide a safe way for animals to cross the street, and hopefully limit deer-vehicle collisions.


The latest on whether a MN driver's license will get you on a plane next year

The Minnesota House approved a Real ID bill Thursday but its differences with a Senate bill will need to be worked out.

Real ID once again gets weighed down by political finger-pointing

Should language about undocumented immigrants and driver's license be included in a Real ID bill?

Bill that would limit state money for abortions OK'd by Minnesota Senate

Another bill adding new license requirements for abortion clinics was also approved.

Hey, lawmakers finally figured out that Real ID thing

Even Andrew Zimmern is relieved they finally approved it.

What you should know about the 2 abortion bills approved by the MN House

What the bills do, arguments for and against them, and what needs to happen for them to become law.

What happened to the proposal to stop internet providers selling MN customers' data?

It got a lot of support – but right now isn't included in any bill. Here's what is going on.

Should we be ready for another last-minute mess at the Capitol?

The past two years, the legislative sessions have wrapped up with yelling, rushed votes, and unfinished bills.

Lawmakers vote to let undocumented immigrants get MN driver's licenses

The Democrat-controlled state House approved a new bill on Friday.