Last night Tennessee became the 16th state to pass a resolution opposing implementation of the REAL ID act. The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee played a major role in making this happen. We had strong bi-partisan support which helped to ensure a unanimous vote in both the Senate and House.
If implemented, this federal legislation would have violated the rights and liberties of Tennesseans as guaranteed under the state and federal constitutions.
NASHVILLE – The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) today praised the Tennessee General Assembly for their bipartisan rejection of the REAL ID Act, which would require all Tennesseans to give up sensitive personal information which would be stored in a national database, to pay higher licensing fees, and to stand in long lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The joint resolution (SJR248) criticizes the federal law’s unfunded mandate and its threats to privacy, security, and the Tennessee Constitution.
“Implementation of REAL ID would crush our privacy rights, drown the state in red tape, and make all of us less safe,” said ACLU-TN Executive Director Hedy Weinberg.
Nationwide there is a growing rebellion against REAL ID. Tennessee becomes the 16th state to pass legislation opposing the Act. Passed in 2005, the REAL ID Act requires the states to produce standardized driver’s licenses and to store the drivers’ personal information in nationally connected databases – creating a de facto national ID card. By placing this information in one central nationwide database, REAL ID makes the information more vulnerable to identity theft and misuse.
The law requires states to begin issuing these licenses by December 31, 2009, but it did not set aside enough funds to make it possible. In Tennessee, the initial estimate for implementing REAL ID is more than $100 million dollars.
Calling the program a national ID, the State Legislature rejects REAL ID because it violates the rights and liberties of Tennesseans guaranteed under the constitutions of the State of Tennessee and the United States. SJR248 urges the Tennessee Congressional delegation to support measures to repeal the REAL ID Act, and states that “there be no implementation of the REAL ID Act until full funding is provided by the Federal Government.”
“Our legislature has taken a bold and admirable step by rejecting REAL ID. They recognize the very real threat to our privacy rights and they did the right thing by opposing implementation of REAL ID,” Weinberg said.
American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) Post Office Box 120160 Nashville, TN 37212
A “Tip of the Hat” to our state legislature on rejecting adoption of the Real ID Act! This legislation is nothing more than an attempted an end run around our Constitution.
It is hoped that the members of the Clarksville and Montgomery County state legislative delegation were united in opposing the Real ID Act. Having not heard or seen any comments from them on the matter, we are left in the blind.
The ACLU is to be commended for its efforts to educate and advocate on our behalf for the rejection of the Real ID Act provisions. Showboat legislation has become too plentiful during this presidential administration. Civil liberties are seen as optional indulgences, not guaranteed provisions of personal freedom. Every Tennessean should read the Real ID Act and become familiar with its requirements. There will other attempts to implement this assault on our personal liberties. Be ever vigilant!