Lousiana debates ban of PASS ID legislation

Posted: April 12, 2010 in Louisiana, Real ID

c/o AP>> Daily Comet

A proposed ban on Louisiana participation in a federal program that requires driver’s licenses to have security enhancements united two organizations Monday that often sit on the opposite sides of many issues.

Leaders of the ACLU of Louisiana and the Christian conservative Louisiana Family Forum both supported a bill by Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, that would direct the state Department of Public Safety not to participate in the federal PASS ID Act, if it passes Congress.

The PASS ID Act attempts to strengthen security by requiring certain information to be encoded in a driver’s license. It would replace the previously passed federal REAL ID requirements, which two dozen states refused to implement because of privacy and cost concerns.

ACLU state director Marjorie Esman and Family Forum Executive Director Gene Mills argued the PASS ID requirements would be invasive and could encourage identity theft. Other supporters of the bill also argued the federal security requirements would be too costly for the state.

The House Transportation Committee voted 16-1 to advance Geymann’s bill (House Bill 870) to the full House for debate. Opposition was by Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, who said Louisiana shouldn’t be objecting to federal legislation designed to improve U.S. security and safety. She said information already is available to identity theives on the Internet.

“If you’re worried about people knowing everything about you, it’s already out there,” she said.

In 2008, Louisiana lawmakers ordered the Department of Public Safety not to implement the provisions of the REAL ID Act.

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