What exactly is Real ID, and how does it affect Minnesota?

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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 lawmakers were so concerned about privacy questions that in 2009, they passed a law prohibiting the state from upgrading its driver's licenses to comply with Real ID.

As of right now, a current Minnesota driver’s license won't get you into certain federal facilities or nuclear power plants. At some point in the future (if it doesn't change) that license will no longer be acceptable identification to get on a commercial airline flight either.

This past September, the feds told Minnesota officials it's time to get on board with the standards (Minnesota is the only state that isn't compliant, and didn't get an extension).

The federal government put a soft deadline of January 2016 for when it would stop accepting non-compliant IDs.

In November Gov. Mark Dayton asked federal authorities for an extension. But on Dec. 21, Homeland Security sent back a letterrejecting that request.

So something has to get done – but if legislators decide to take up the issue, they first have to change that law passed in 2009.

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