AP: Feds Deny Montana Request to Delay Driver’s License Law

 Montana residents won’t be allowed to use their driver’s licenses to access military bases, nuclear power plants and federal facilities starting Jan. 30, and they’ll need another form of identification to board commercial aircraft a year after that, federal officials said Tuesday.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sent Montana Gov. Steve Bullock a letter rejecting the governor’s request to delay implementation of the federal Real ID Act of 2005

The state previously received two one-year extensions, but won’t get a third. There is no evidence that Montana will commit to meeting the requirements of the federal law passed to prevent terrorism and identity theft, assistant secretaries Alan Bersin and Philip McNamara wrote.

The officials pointed to a 2007 law passed by the Montana Legislature that said the state would not comply with the Real ID Act.

“As a result, Montana will be subject to Real ID enforcement in accordance with the phased enforcement schedule,” Bersin and McNamara wrote.

That schedule includes a 3 ½-month grace period after Montana’s last extension expired on Oct. 10. But starting Jan. 30, federal agencies will not be allowed to accept driver’s licenses and identification cards from Montanans seeking entry to military bases, nuclear power plants and federal facilities.

Starting Jan. 22, 2018, people presenting Montana driver’s licenses as identification at airports will be asked to show a different form of identification, such as a passport.

Bersin and McNamara wrote that 24 states are complying with Real ID and 19 others have committed to meeting the requirements.

The state Legislature voted in 2007 not to comply with the federal law over concerns of federal overreach and that personal information required to be stored under Real ID could be breached.

Bullock has insisted Montana driver’s licenses are secure without being Real ID-compliant. He called on President-elect Donald Trump to repeal the federal law, according to a statement released by his office.

“I stand by Montanans and their elected leaders in opposition to the implementation of the Real ID Act, which violates states’ rights and jeopardizes the privacy rights of law-abiding citizens in Montana,” Bullock’s statement said.

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, said he would work to repeal the law. Attorney General Tim Fox called on Congress to support Daines’ legislation, according to a joint statement released by the two Republicans.