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Frustration for Mass. Citizens Over New Federal ID Law

Massachusetts citizens may be excluded from federal facilities while the state navigates the new "REAL ID" law.

Frustration for Mass. Citizens Over New Federal ID Law

By Jason Claffey

Frustrations are starting to mount for Massachusetts citizens over a new federal identification law.

The “ REAL ID” program was approved in 2005 as a way to “inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection” with tougher design standards for driver’s licenses. It was a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, as the 9/11 terrorists had dozens of licenses used to board airplanes.

The Boston Globe reported Massachusetts is one of nine states that have not yet complied with the program.

The law went into effect earlier this year. It restricts citizens from using driver’s licenses alone to enter restricted areas at federal facilities and nuclear power plants if their state does not yet comply with the law. In 2016, the restrictions will expand to airports.

The Globe reported a Brookline woman this month was denied access to a federal building near Washington, D.C. because the Bay State does not yet comply with the REAL ID program. A state official told the Globe that the state applied for an extension that would delay the enforcement of the law on Bay State citizens.

Enforcement of REAL ID has been delayed several times over concerns about privacy and cost.

The law was written by U.S. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, who called continued delays “dangerous.”

Photo credit: Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles

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