Efforts to get Missouri to comply with the 2005 federal REAL ID law will resume once state lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday for the final seven weeks of the session.
Identical bills in the House and Senate, HB 151 and SB 37/224, would allow the state to issue driver’s licenses that comply with REAL ID standards while continuing to issue ones that don’t. Backers say allowing both types will respect the privacy rights of a Missouri driver who doesn’t want to share any particular personal data with the federal government as a result of having a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license.
Republican Caleb Rowden of Columbia is a co-sponsor of the Senate bill, along with Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City. Rowden said he’s aware that the state has until Jan. 22, 2018, to comply or else citizens won’t be able to use their driver’s licenses at airports.
“We tried to take into account every variable, every side of every argument, and come up with something that allows for there not to be this extreme inconvenience for Missourians come January of next year,” he said, “and I think we’ve done it.”
Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, is among a group of Republicans that’s blocking the bill. He is one of 102 Missouri lawmakers who sent a letter to President Donald Trump that asks him to “halt the implementation of REAL ID or grant waivers for the states that object to provisions of this burdensome legislation.”
“I believe this problem should be solved at the federal government level; that’s where it was created,” he said. “You cannot tell me how keeping information in databases is going to protect people.”
House leaders plan to take up their version of the REAL ID bill next month.
“We’re going to — once the budget (is done), we have to deal with it when we get back,” said House Majority Floor Leader Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit. “Once we see the lay of the land, REAL ID will be coming forward, I think.”
Those last two words may serve as a disclaimer, as the bill faces strong opposition in the House.
During initial floor debates last month, Republican Rep. Robert Ross from Texas County was unsuccessful in adding an amendment that would have required anyone who votes in favor of the bill to display “in a prominent location” the following: “I would rather kneel to the federal government than stand strong protecting my constituents’ right to privacy.”
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