The Senate passed a revised Real ID bill – here's what needs to happen next

We might not need a passport to fly domestically next year!
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We're one step closer to not needing a passport to fly domestically next year.

Minnesota is one of four states that hasn’t conformed with federal Real ID standards because for more than a year lawmakers have been hung up on a compromise.

But on Thursday, the Minnesota Senate got us a littler closer to compliance with federal regulations. After voting down a Real ID bill a few weeks ago, the Senate passed a revised version of a Real ID bill, which leaves out language Democrats say would prevent undocumented immigrants from getting a driver's license.

But the bill isn't going to Gov. Mark Dayton's desk just yet. The Senate bill is still different from the version the House passed last month, which includes those administrative rules that block unauthorized immigrants from getting a license.

To become law, the same bill must pass the House and Senate before heading to Dayton. To get there, members from both chambers will meet in committee to come up with a compromise.

And that's where the Real ID legislation could get held up again. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, told MPR News negotiations will be a challenge because "The House is a little firmer on some of the issues that we tried to keep clean," but added that they want to keep moving the bill forward.

Meanwhile, Rep. Dennis Smith, R-Maple Grove, who sponsored the bill in the House, told the Star Tribune the issue is about Minnesotans being able to fly on airplanes, not about giving undocumented immigrants a license.

The Pioneer Press says Gov. Mark Dayton said he'd sign a Real ID bill if it gets to his desk.

The state has until Jan. 22, 2018, to get things straightened out, or Minnesotans won't be able to use a driver's license as an ID at the airport.

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