DHS to hold Webinar on Real ID
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Washington-based National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) will host a Webinar to give state legislators a chance to voice their opinion on the Real ID Act. The Webinar is scheduled for May 4, four days before the deadline for submitting official comments to DHS about the preliminary version of regulations for the implementation of the Act released in early March.
The Webinar is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. on a Web site that is yet to be announced. DHS Assistant Secretary for Policy Development Richard Barth and officials with the Real ID Office will make short presentations, followed by a question and answer period. More information on viewing the Webinar will be available at the NCSL Web site, www.ncsl.org.
Many state officials and local government associations have been protesting Real ID, which was passed in 2005 on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and establishes national standards for securing the issuance of driver’s licenses. Opponents say the cost is too high, and many states have considered resolutions asking for the Act to be repealed. (Read American City & County’s March coverage of Real ID for more details.)
States are expected to spend $11 billion to implement Real ID, and so far Congress has appropriated $40 million in aid. However, in March Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that states will be able to use up to 20 percent of their Homeland Security Grant Program funds for Real ID-related expenses. Chertoff also said that states that could not make the original deadline for initial compliance — May 11, 2008 — could receive an extension until Dec. 31, 2009.
The regulations are posted on the Federal Register at http://www.dhs.gov for public comment.