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Sep 24, 2015 6:19 PM

LANDRIGAN: NH lawmakers responding to Real ID air travel dilemma


CONCORD - "I believe it’s probably a good thing we have a secure license. Let’s face it those 19 terrorists had phony licenses,’’ said House Speaker Pro Tem Sherman Packard, R-Londonderry.

With that, a leading foot soldier in New Hampshire’s long war over Real ID signals he’s willing to offer a truce to have New Hampshire join the program.

New Hampshire, three other states and American Samoa are the only US jurisdictions to not join the federal license standard which has been a bragging right in the Granite State.

Federal officials confirming New Hampshire travelers one day won’t board a plane with just a New Hampshire driver’s license moved lawmakers to act, however.

"It’s the fact the feds have put some dates out there and started to follow through on the enforcement that has gotten peoples attentions,’’ said Director of Motor Vehicles Richard Bailey.

There was a time the Granite State vowed to fight Real ID to the finish.

"Back in 2005 when lawmakers sitting in these seats saw real ID they saw real big government, real big Washington overreach and real big invasion of privacy,’’ Landrigan says.

A Democratic senator tried last year to get New Hampshire on board.

"I think there were concerns there would be a national database and that there would be federal retention of records and it’s very clear that is not the case,’’ Soucy said.

This past session, Gov. Maggie Hassan supported Soucy’s fix but lawmakers had not yet been threatened with the air travel snafu so they were in no mood to capitulate.

Come January, the DMV is making security upgrades to make our driver license Real ID protected. Then on a voluntary basis folks who want NH Real ID would agree to keep their picture and Socila Security number on the license.

"I do believe individuals have a right to withhold information and there are consequences to that but that’s a personal decision each person ought to make,’’ Soucy said.

And Packard echoed that the legislation will be voluntary and give New Hampshire motorists five years to comply so they don’t have to act until their individual licenses come up for renewal.

"People who don’t want a New Hampshire Real ID, that’s their choice,’’ Packard said.

"Sure there will be some holdouts next year but it’s looking more and more like after a decade

Of being a hostile combatant, New Hampshire could be on the verge of a cease fire over Real ID,’’ Landrigan added.


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