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Dayton signs Real ID bill, averting travel woes for 2018

19 May 2017

The House's chief author, Rep. Dennis Smith (R-Maple Grove), says the deal will allow Minnesotans to board planes and get access to military bases.

The Minnesota House voted 120-11 on Wednesday to bring the state into compliance with the federal Real ID law; the Senate followed suit later in the evening with a 57-8 vote. If granted, holders of state identification could use their licenses for federal purposes through 2020.

If a license has not expired and a Minnesotan wants one of the new licenses, a new Real ID-compliant license may be obtained once they are available for a little extra money to have its expiration date extended.

Minnesota was the final holdout in meeting stricter federal ID standards after lawmakers struggled for years to pass a bill.

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The authorization means that Minnesotans will continue to be able to board domestic flights with a compliant driver's license.

Governor Dayton has signed Real ID legislation into law. With the latest action from lawmakers, Minnesota is likely to get a waiver to give residents time to get new driver's licenses.

That issue now has moved to a separate bill. In the end, the Real ID measure is silent on that question.

After years of debate, Minnesota has adopted the federal Real ID standards for driver's licenses.

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"This bill's been a long haul", Rep. Leon Lillie, DFL-North St. Paul, said on the floor. Republicans argued that the state should strengthen a rule that now prohibits licenses for people in the country illegally, while DFLers including Dayton said that shouldn't be part of the Real ID debate.

Many Democrats and the Democratic governor wanted to change the law to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses to make the roads, and the immigrants, safer.

Dayton has stated that a new budget deal must be reached, but the time frame to do so is unclear at this point.

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Dayton signs Real ID bill, averting travel woes for 2018