Texas DPS Applies for $171.2 million in Real ID Grants

Posted: October 18, 2008 in Department of Public Safety, DHS, DPS, Drivers Licenses, FEMA, Real ID Act of 2005, Texas

DPS Commission Hearing on Implementation Readiness for Real IDs

A BeatTheChip Exclusive

AUSTIN — Texas Department of Public Safety License Administrator Chief Judy Brown briefed the Public Safety Commission Thursday, October 16th on DPS’s application status for $171.2 million in FEMA/DHS grants to implement recent rules and technologies Real ID compliant license standards. Chief Brown discussed the public-private business model including staffing commissioned officers in a new proposed license administrator hierarchy, amid priorities to implement the federal mandate.

Brown indicated there was significant reluctance from State Legislators and resources to move forward with financing the new licenses with State funds. If the FEMA/DHS grants are accepted in the State of Texas, proposed rulemaking would standardize new licenses to for federal purposes such as: applying for social programs, entering federal buildings, and flying on regulated aircraft by the next deadline of 2009 and state the driver’s nationality.

C. Tom Clowe Jr. , DPS Comissioner, asked Chief Brown about her rationale for employing comissioned officers over civillian clerks.

“Civillians will argue with another civllian [clerk]. They will not argue with a uniform,” said Chief Brown during her commentary for incorporating a new job title, “Civillian Manager”.

Other topics covered during the meeting included a response from DPS Chairman Allen Polunsky to those giving public input regarding license inspection checkpoints. Citizens expressed opposition during public input to random license checkpoints and a new rule requiring citizenship documentation in order to attain a drivers license. Immediately following the testimony from members of the 5-11 Campaign, Polunsky said, “There are no plans… to instill public checkpoints at this time.” He added that concerns over the checkpoints were premature.

Later in the meeting, Chairman Polunsky submitted a letter from Texas Senator Juan Hinajosa concerned about the rulemaking for license requirements and license examination checkpoints.

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