Bi-partisan Legislation Has Already Been Filed
CONCORD - New Hampshire House Speaker Pro Tem Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry) has filed legislation to address New Hampshire’s compliance with federal identification laws, commonly referred to as REAL ID.
Legislative service request (LSR) 2016-2112, which will be assigned a bill number once the language has been reviewed and approved, will provide a mechanism to transition New Hampshire State issued IDs to a compliant version, which will in turn ensure that current IDs are acceptable for travel and other common purposes during a 5-year transition period.
“This is a very important piece of legislation that will ensure New Hampshire citizens don’t need to carry multiple forms of identification when they travel or visit federal buildings,” Rep. Packard said. “As soon as the federal government alerted us to the fact that they would begin to enforce federal ID standards in the coming year, we got the pieces in place to ensure that the Legislature can solve the problem before it becomes a problem.
“No one has to worry about changing their license right away. By passing this New Hampshire specific bill, we will still be able to use our current IDs without a problem for travel and other purposes during a 5-year transition period. During those 5 years, our state issued ID system will undergo a series of changes to comply with the federal standards,” Packard continued. “We anticipate giving citizens the option to opt-out of the REAL ID program if they object to providing certain personal information required for a federally accepted ID. We anticipate that most granite staters will choose to opt-in and have an ID they can use universally.”
Under the proposed bill, if a New Hampshire citizen were to opt-in, the Department of Safety would keep their social security number and photo on file. Should they decide not to opt-in, they can keep their regular license, and, at their request, their social security number and photo will not be kept on file. However, if they decide not to opt-in, their passport will be required to travel on domestic flights and enter government buildings, such as a White House tour. The non-compliant cards will incorporate a unique design and clearly indicate that the document may not be accepted for official purposes.
“Important to note,” said Packard, “is that our compliance with REAL ID will not create a national ID card, it will not put New Hampshire citizens in a federal database of driver information, and federal authorities will not have access to any new state data.”
The text of the bill will be made available as soon as the drafting and approval process is complete.