Just Say No...To DHS?

It's not every day that a U.S. state decides to declare a federal law non-applicable. It was, however, Friday when the Governor of Montana decided to do just that, and to bring seventeen other states along with him, over — of all things — drivers licenses.

The stage was set the previous week by the Department of Homeland Security, with the release of final regulations implementing the much-abhorred Real ID act. For those who haven't been following, the act would force residents in every state to re-apply for their driver's license using certified documents — reportedly to enhance security. The states would also be required to update the licenses with bar codes and other high-tech features, which the DHS hopes will make them useful for such far-reaching purposes as employment screening and cigarette checks. Given that the cost of the program exceeds $20 billion — and the federal government refuses to foot the bill — a number of states have refused to comply. The kicker? Any state that doesn't play ball will have its documents declared invalid for federal purposes, meaning residents won't be able to use their licenses as ID to get into federal buildings or past airport security.

The latest development has Governor Schweitzer of Montana sending a letter to seventeen other governors, imploring them to join Montana in standing up to the DHS. Schweitzer's plan is to hold out long enough to make the feds blink, and given that his threat would mean endless delays at the airport and closing citizens out of federal services, he might just win.

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