Our View: Identifying problems with unfunded mandates - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Our View: Identifying problems with unfunded mandates

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Posted: Friday, June 20, 2008 9:02 pm | Updated: 8:43 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Arizona last week joined the growing list of states who are telling the federal government to take a hike regarding implementing its REAL ID Act, which, in addition to calling for making driver’s licenses more secure as identification, links state databases in such a way that has properly alarmed civil libertarians who fear it would become a national identification card.

Gov. Janet Napolitano signed a bill Tuesday making it illegal for Arizona to implement REAL ID, passed by Congress in 2005. Her reasons were not based on civil liberties, but on REAL ID being yet another unfunded federal mandate.

Although, as Capitol Media Services reported in Wednesday’s Tribune, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official blustered about there being “real consequences” for Arizonans as a result, REAL ID isn’t likely to become a reality, certainly not as long as it is not funded and certainly not with 14 states — so far — refusing to support it.

The governor, in a message to the Legislature explaining her reasons for signing House Bill 2677, suggested the House and Senate re-examine her proposal for the “3-in-1” enhanced driver’s license.

The “3-in-1” would be Arizona’s own driver’s license that would also enable the holder to show verification of his or her immigration status and to be able to travel between the United States, Canada and Mexico without a passport.

Many in the Legislature have doubts about the “3-in-1,” and it so far has not found enough favor in their chambers.

But the underlying reasons behind REAL ID and “3-in-1” — that current driver’s licenses are far too easy to counterfeit and fail to do enough to thwart their use by America’s enemies — should urge both lawmakers and the governor should begin work anew.

The prognosis for REAL ID is poor, and if not “3-in-1,” then there had better be something to replace the present driver’s license, which in its current state is not too daunting a task for a teenager with talent to fabricate.

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