Brian Schweitzer and the Politics of Real ID
Real ID, the federal law that seeks to add new security features to drivers' licenses, has been a hot policy issue and federalism flashpoint for ...
Real ID, the federal law that seeks to add new security features to drivers' licenses, has been a hot policy issue and federalism flashpoint for a couple of years. This fall it might become a major political issue for the first time.
For the most part, state officials despise Real ID. They view it as an under-funded mandate that usurps traditional state prerogatives.
But, for the most part, governors have asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for extensions to implement the rules. In requesting extensions, implicitly they may have resigned themselves to implementing Real ID sooner or later.
Three governors are still holdouts: Montana's Brian Schweitzer, South Carolina's Mark Sanford and Maine's John Baldacci. Schweitzer is an especially interesting case because he's up for reelection this year and, though a heavy favorite, is likely to face a credible Republican opponent in state Sen. Roy Brown.
Schweitzer doesn't sound as though he's going to ask for an extension before the March 31 deadline that Homeland Security has set. The libertarian-minded Democrat told NPR earlier this month, "If it does come to a head, we've found it is best just to tell them to go to hell, and run your state the way you want to run your state."
What would that mean? Starting May 11, less than five months before Election Day, Montanans would be unable to use drivers' licenses to board airplanes or enter federal buildings -- unless the feds back down.
The question is how this would play politically. Predisposed to mistrust the federal government, Montanans might reward Schweitzer for fighting the good fight. They also might blame him for making their lives much less convenient.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
The Week in Public Finance: Several Shades of Bad News1 day ago
Los Angeles Failed to Collect $1.8 Million in Overtime Reimbursements1 day ago
American Wages Might Explain Puerto Rico's Economic Troubles1 day ago
Majority of Americans Say Confederate Flag Isn't a Symbol of Racism1 day ago
5,000 Evacuated Following Tenn. Train Fire1 day ago
Gerrymandering Likely to Get Worse in States1 day ago