Since the federal Real ID Act was first enacted in 2005, Montana has received extensions because our driver’s licenses are not compliant with the law.  Montana politicians on both sides of the aisle have opposed Real ID because of data storage and privacy concerns, but the latest extension came to an end last Monday. The Montana Attorney General’s Office oversees the production of Montana Driver’s Licenses, and spokesman John Barnes says State law and Federal Law are at odds over this issue.

"Montana's license is what is it is, it’s not something for us to do, it's a question of the federal government to say we are in compliance or were not," Barnes said. "We are not in compliance with Real ID because the law prohibits compliance with Real ID. So one of two things has to happen: the state legislature would have to change state law to comply with real ID or congress would have to change the Real ID Act at the federal level."

Since Montana law prohibits compliance, Montanans that want to enter federal buildings may have to get another form of ID soon.

“It’s quite possible that Montana will not receive another extension,” Barnes said. “It's our understanding that there would be a 90 day grace period, that began on Monday. At the end of those 90 days, if you are a Montanan and you want to enter a Federal Court House or a federal installation in Montana, you will need some sort type of alternate identification that is recognized by the Department of Homeland Security.”

Montana is one of six states currently out of compliance with Real ID including Washington, Illinois, New Mexico, Missouri and Minnesota. In 2007, the Montana State House and Senate voted unanimously to prohibit Real ID implementation.





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