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State of Vermont

Senate Chamber

Montpelier, Vermont

Joint Senate Resolution

     By Senators Hartwell, Ayer, Carris, Collins, Flanagan, Illuzzi, Lyons, MacDonald, Mazza, McCormack, Nitka, Racine, Scott, Sears, Snelling and White,

     J.R.S. 15.  Joint resolution relating to the federal REAL ID Act.

Whereas, on May 11, 2005, the federal REAL ID Act was enacted as part of Public Law 109-13, a federal supplemental appropriations measure, and

Whereas, pursuant to the act, every state must implement new federal drivers’ licenses and official identification cards, such as Vermont’s nondriver’s ID, in order that these state-issued identification documents be used for federal identification purposes, and

Whereas, the federal standards associated with these new state identification cards would result in the establishment of a national database containing extensive personal information on individuals that would be available to motor vehicle and law enforcement officials nationwide, and

Whereas, the REAL ID Act also facilitates the establishment of new and massive private databases, including both drivers’ licenses and transactional data gained from scanning the machine-readable information contained on everyone of the identification documents subject to the act, and

Whereas, these public and private databases pose serious threats to the civil liberties of all Vermonters, and

Whereas, under the act, states must have access to five national identity document verification systems, and only one is now operational, and

Whereas, some of the required forms of ID will be difficult or impossible for some citizens to obtain, and

Whereas, a joint  comprehensive analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors’ Association, and American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators has determined that the implementation of the act would cost the states $11 billion during the first five years, and that the states would also incur a one-time $1 billion expense, and

Whereas, the deadline for implementation of the act is approaching rapidly, and

Whereas, neither Congress nor the federal executive branch has received adequate testimony as to the effect of the act on the states, nor has Congress appropriated sufficient funds for the states to implement this federal mandate, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges Congress either to reconsider its approval of the REAL ID Act or to take testimony on the severe financial and technical challenges associated with state implementation, and be it further

Resolved:  That the General Assembly urges Congress, should it still be determined to go forward with state implementation of the REAL ID Act after careful analysis, to:

1)    Appropriate funds to relieve the states of any new financial obligations including the appropriation of the $1 billion of initial state costs; and

2)    Adopt the changes to the REAL ID Act outlined in the report entitled “The REAL ID Act: National Impact Analysis” of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governor’s Association, and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the members of the Vermont Congressional delegation.


____________________________              Attested to:

President of the Senate


____________________________              ____________________________

Speaker of the House                                     David A. Gibson

                                                                      Secretary of the Senate


Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont