With pressure coming from former Arizona governor and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, the Senate has introduced the Pass ID bill, which would loosen some of the requirements set forth by Real ID. Real ID was passed in response to 9-11 and required states to issue a more secure driver's license or state ID, but several states complained that it was too costly.
The new Pass ID would still require states to issue a secure license, but with weaker restrictions and partly funded by federal grants. Eleven states refuse to implement Real ID.
“Today’s introduction of Pass ID in the U.S. Senate brings us closer to greater compliance with federal standards for secure driver’s licenses and better protection against terrorists and other threats nationwide,” said Secretary Napolitano in a DHS press release. “Pass ID is a cost-effective, common-sense solution that balances critical security requirements with the input and practical needs of state governments. I am committed to supporting this important bill and it is my hope that Congress will pass it into law as quickly as possible.”
Real ID was a recommendation of the 9-11 Commission stating, "For terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons." The terrorist hijackers on 9-11 were able to easily move throughout the country with weak ID restrictions, and 18 of 19 of the 9-11 terrorists had obtained IDs.
Pass ID will retain several features of Real ID, including digital photographs and signature and machine-readable features such as a bar code. States will also be required to verify applicants' identities and immigration status. It will eliminate a new database that would link all state information, including birth certificates, to make it easier to verify identity.
If passed, DHS would have nine months to write the new regulations and states would have five years to comply.
For more on this story, see the Washington Post.
Updated: Wed, Oct 11th 2017 @ 11:39am EDT