FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 23, 2015
Tim Crowe, Governor’s Office, 406.444.9844
Anastasia Burton, Attorney General’s Office, 406.444.2026
Helena, MT – Today, Governor Steve Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) had backed off of their threat to stop accepting Montana driver’s licenses and identification cards for certain purposes listed under the REAL ID Act.
“Montanans do not want or need REAL ID,” Bullock said. “REAL ID raises real concerns about the unnecessary collection of Montanans’ personal and private information by the federal government. Our state has taken significant steps, independent of a federal mandate, to bolster the security of licenses, while protecting the right to privacy that Montanans hold dear.”
In a letter to Bullock, USDHS acknowledges the security improvements made to licenses and identification cards issued by the State of Montana. The letter grants an extension of the implementation of the requirements of REAL ID through October 10, 2016.
“Our Motor Vehicle Division has done an outstanding job with the difficult task of ensuring Montana’s driver’s license is highly secure, while balancing our citizens’ privacy,” said Attorney General Tim Fox. “Some of these security measures include prohibiting individuals from holding a Montana driver’s license or identification card while simultaneously holding one from another state, using security features that are not easily reproduced, and ensuring the security of personally identifiable information. So, while Montana refuses to be bullied by the Federal government into becoming REAL ID compliant or into compromising our citizens’ privacy, driver’s license enhancements such as these provide features that distinguish them from fraudulent cards, while at the same time serve as secure proof of identity.”
In 2007, Montana’s legislature voted unanimously to forbid implementation of REAL ID in the State of Montana. All 150 members of the 60th Montana Legislature agreed that REAL ID implementation is “inimical to the security and well-being of the people of Montana, will cause unneeded expanse and inconvenience to those people,” (House Bill 287) and raises serious questions about state’s rights.
The letter from USDHS to Bullock can be found at: http://governor.mt.gov/Portals/16/docs/2015PressReleases/112315RealID.pdf?ver=2015-10-23-150310-797