MD lawmakers dubious about Real ID

In hearing, Democratic lawmaker warns cost of license could quadruple, most security measures already in place.

Maryland legislators ripped the pending Real ID law, passed by Congress in 2005 and due to take effect next year. Legislators fear the measure will cost the state too much in issuing new, high-tech driver's licenses to comply with the law, Capitol News Service reports.

Sen. Jennie M. Forehand, a Democrat, said that implementation of the law in 2008 could cost the state over $150 million and would not protect the state from terrorist attacks. The new law could mean a driver's license could cost $195 instead of $45.

"This [provision] is not against having security because we already have [stricter measures in place]. It's about the money. Show us the money," Forehand said.

Maryland has already put in place many of the new measures. Maryland driver's licenses currently feature digital photographs of the driver, the Motor Vehicle Administration stores digital images of documents used to prove identity and the MVA uses advanced technology for document verification. But Republican Sen. Nancy Jacobs told the committee that the measure could be effective in thwarting terrorist attacks.

"In the last four months three Marylanders were killed by three illegal immigrants with expired visas. But they had valid licenses," Jacobs said. "It's absurd to me that we aren't tougher." Jacobs added that the stricter regulations of the Real ID Act could have prevented the terrorists from destroying the World Trade Center.

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