Oregon Beats The Chip

Posted: July 1, 2009 in Oregon, Real ID Act of 2005, SB 356


Salem – An Oregon bill that will prohibit the state from taking further action to implement Real ID cleared its final hurdle yesterday when Governor Ted Kulongoski permitted it to become law without his signature.  SB 536, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Rick Metsger (D-Mt. Hood), had passed the Senate unanimously on April 15th and passed the House on May 29th by a vote of 39-6. 

“This is a tremendous, hard-won victory for Oregonians,” said ACLU of Oregon Legislative Director Andrea Meyer.  

Meyer pointed out that Real ID would require DMV offices to optically scan and store electronic copies of original identification documents of every person with a license or ID card.  Among the types of documents stored would be birth certificates, Social Security cards and U.S. Passports.  Real ID also requires that those electronic records be made available to motor vehicles offices around the country in a 50-state shared database.  

“Such a massive database would be a gold mine for identity thieves,” Meyer said. “The Real ID database would unnecessarily compromise the privacy and security of Oregonians, and all Americans.  Congress needs to revisit the requirements of Real ID and either scrap it altogether or make significant reforms.” 

The new law prevents Oregon from taking those steps unless there are significant improvements made by the federal government to protect privacy and to provide federal funding to the states for implementation.

Since its enactment, Real ID has faced significant pushback in the states. To date, 24 states have passed legislation denouncing the federal initiative. During her January confirmation hearing, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called for a review of Real ID, saying the states were not consulted enough in its creation and that the initiative is a fiscal burden on the states. Before heading up DHS, Napolitano was Governor of Arizona, where she signed legislation prohibiting her state from complying with the requirements of Real ID.

With the enactment of SB 536, Oregon becomes the 14th state to pass legislation prohibiting the implementation of Real ID.  Those states are: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington. Ten additional states have passed resolutions in opposition to Real ID. 


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