MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Governor Dayton is pushing for a change to driver's licenses, making it easier for travelers to fly out of airports. Minnesota is among the few states that do not comply with a federal law requiring licenses to be more secure. While the Department of Public Safety says enhanced drivers licenses provide increased security, one lawmaker says our privacy is at stake on this unless we ask some serious questions.
Come next year, in order for Minnesotans to board a plane or enter a federal building, there's a strong chance a driver's license alone won't do. Travelers will also need a passport, another federally recognized document or an enhanced drivers license, also known as an EDL.
In a statement, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesman Bruce Gordon said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has said travelers may not be allowed to board federally-regulated commercial aircrafts using a driver’s license or ID card "no sooner than 2016." While no exact date has been set, they said they'll give ample notice.
Back in 2009, Minnesota joined 32 states saying, “No way do we want to be a part of the REAL ID Program,” explained Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove). According to the Department of Public Safety, the EDLs serve a dual purpose: They're designed for convenience and to verify citizenship.
Sen. Limmer is also concerned about how authorities have pushed for the new IDs.
“They pull out the club and they say, ‘Your people aren't going to go on airplanes if you don't do what we tell you. We want a fully encrypted chip in a plate of plastic printed with your driver license on it so we can enhance identification,’” Sen. Limmer described.
He added it's truly anyone's guess what information or capabilities are inside enhanced driver's licenses. For Sen. Limmer, it all comes down to privacy rights and how much more we'll have to sacrifice for security.
Sen. Limmer hopes to address all of his questions with the governor, the assistant secretary of Homeland Security and others in a meeting planned at the Veteran's Administration building in St. Paul.