States Fume on Eve of REAL ID Deadline

Montana leads fight against unfunded federal law
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Mar 30, 2008 4:15 PM CDT
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, right, speaks during a news conference as part of the National Governors Association's Securing a Clean Energy Future Initiative in this file photo.    (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Washington is locked in a standoff with states over REAL ID, an anti-terror law that aims to make driver's licenses harder to dupe or obtain. But no states are near complying and Montana, New Hampshire, and Maine have all balked at the unfunded plan. What's more, REAL ID is just one of the federal mandates that have irked states in recent years, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

No Child Left Behind and tort reforms have also been vexing governors. But "the pendulum is swinging a little bit back towards states' rights now, and that's one context in which to see this REAL ID battle," one expert said. The Department of Homeland Security is offering to pay $380 million of the mandate's $3.9 billion price tag, and is giving states an extension, hoping some will comply before Congress seeks a likely compromise.