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Minnesota Senate Votes Down REAL ID Bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- Supporters of REAL ID in Minnesota saw their bill get voted down by the state Senate on Monday.

Democrats and some Republicans voted against the plan that would have created a high-security driver's license in Minnesota.

In 2005, Congress approved the REAL ID Act. It requires state-issued driver's licenses to meet certain information standards by 2018. David Schultz, a political science professor at Hamline, said the Real ID Act is designed to help with national security issues and the war on terrorism.

"Most states in the United States adopted REAL ID. The state of Minnesota did not," said Schultz.

Schultz said Minnesota lawmakers first argued that REAL ID was a privacy issue. Now, he believes the argument is more about immigration -- not information.

"Because what we now see going on here is that there is an insistence by the governor and by some that non-documented aliens also receive a REAL ID or receive a driver's license as a result and Republicans are opposed to it," said Schultz.

After the Senate voted down a REAL ID bill on Monday, Schultz said the clock is ticking.

Minnesota needs to pass a bill, or beginning next year, a driver's license may not be enough to board a plane.

At MSP, those flying weighed the pros and cons of how much personal information the federal government would have, if a REAL ID becomes reality.

"What we have on our ID right now should be enough. We shouldn't have to expose all of our identity," said Jafar Wako of Duluth.

"I'm a bit in favor of it. We need the ID for everything anymore. So if we have to be a little more concrete about what it is, it's OK," said traveler Greg Smith.

Not having this could mean you would need a passport to board a plane next year.

It could also affect things like applying for Social Security benefits.

Schultz said he thinks lawmakers will eventually pass a REAL ID bill, but it will likely happen at the very last minute.

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