Minnesota governor renews request for REAL ID extension

- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is renewing his request for a REAL ID compliance extension that would allow residents to use their current Minnesota driver’s license to enter federal buildings and military bases. A previous extension request was denied by the Department of Homeland Security, citing a lack of progress toward compliance.

Gov. Dayton’s letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

Dear Secretary Johnson:

On November 13, 2015, I submitted a letter requesting the Department of Homeland Security to grant an extension to allow Minnesotans to continue to use their Minnesota driver's licenses for federal identification purposes. As you will recall, the Minnesota Legislature had passed a law in 2009 prohibiting the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety from implementing or planning to implement REAL ID. As a result, Minnesota's driver's license is not REAL ID compliant and Minnesotans are unable to use their Minnesota licenses to enter federal buildings or military bases. In addition, they will be unable to use their current Minnesota licenses to board commercial aircraft beginning in January 22, 2018.

In your December 2015 letter denying my request, you stated: "Minnesota may renew its extension request if there are developments or additional information provided regarding your state's progress towards meeting the outstanding requirements, the reasons that these standards remain unmet, and the reasons for continued noncompliance."

On March 31, 2016, I signed a law that allows the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to work with the Department of Homeland Security to plan to implement REAL ID and outlines a list of next steps and reporting requirements. This is significant movement on the part of the Legislature. Legislative leaders have also stated their desire to pass a law to implement REAL ID prior to the May 23, 2016 adjournment deadline.

The Commissioner of Public Safety and I are eager to implement REAL ID to maximize the time Minnesotans who wish to obtain a REAL ID have to do so prior to the Department of Homeland Security's deadline for REAL IDs to board commercial aircraft. In the meantime, I am requesting an extension for Minnesota's current license to be an allowable identification for Minnesotans to access federal buildings and military bases while the Department, Department of Homeland Security and the Legislature work out the details for Minnesota to become REAL ID compliant.

While Minnesota has made significant progress, we will need, and I request, the assistance of your Department to help us pass legislation that authorizes and directs the implementation of REAL ID in this legislative session.

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