What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Huge Development for Civil Liberties in WI -- Anti-REAL ID

This is an article in the Cap times from yesterday. More on why Real ID sucks later, but did want to note for the record the ACLU is not a "liberal" organization.... They are a non-profit who's mission is to protect everyone's rights under the Constitution... In fact, even Rush Limbaugh was defended by the ACLU a few years ago for his right to keep his medical records private... Can you tell calling the ACLU a "liberal" org is one of my pet peeves...

Have a great night everyone! Renee

From the Capitol Times in Madison:

Wisconsin considering anti-Real ID bill
Pat Schneider — 6/13/2007 8:34 am
Wisconsin soon may join the roster of states saying "no" to Real ID.
A bipartisan bill that would set high performance benchmarks for the federal legislation before the state would comply with it is being circulated for co-sponsors.
Its authors, state representatives Louis Molepske Jr., D- Stevens Point, and Jeff Wood, R-Chippewa Falls, make no bones about the fact that they think the federal law is an expensive boondoggle that will expose Wisconsin citizens to increased risk of identity theft and curtail civil liberties.
Some 36 states have passed or are considering legislation criticizing or opting out of Real ID, a 2005 federal law authored by Wisconsin's U.S. Rep. James S. Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls. In a statement as the Real ID neared passage, Sensenbrenner said it was aimed at "preventing another 9/11-type attack by disrupting terrorist travel and bolstering our border security."
Sensenbrenner was not available, and his office declined comment for this article.
States have until May 2008 to begin complying with Real ID, which specifies which forms of identification can be used to obtain a state driver's license or ID card, and how those documents must be electronically stored and shared with other states. Only licenses and ID cards from states in compliance with Real ID could be used to board a commercial airliner or enter a federal building. States are to have completed implementation by May 2013.
Make no mistake, Real ID establishes a national ID card, Wood said.
"What we carry in our wallets now are real IDs,'" he said. "This federal national ID bill requires the states to collect personal information -- social security number and digital image -- and put it into a national data base accessible to every governmental entity in the country."
"My concern," said Molepske, "is we not sell it as an anti-terrorism mechanism when it is really an immigration issue."
The entanglement of the two issues, national security and immigration, was intensified by the fact that a state law that went into effect this year requiring proof of legal presence in the United States to be eligible for a Wisconsin license or ID card was billed as a first step to compliance with Real ID.
Sensenbrenner is the author of the failed immigration legislation that would have made illegal presence in the country a felony and fueled the explosion of grass-roots opposition last year.
Sensenbrenner, who was in the Wisconsin Legislature for a decade before being elected to Congress in 1978, was a vocal opponent of recent compromise immigration legislation that would have given aliens in the United States without documentation a pathway to citizenship.
He said of licensing procedures pre-Real ID: "Giving driver's licenses that can be used for identification to anyone, regardless of whether they are here legally or whether we know who they really are, is an open invitation for terrorists and criminals to exploit."
The proposed new state legislation would prohibit the Department of Transportation from doing anything to comply with Real ID unless: the department ensures that data collected is secure, any personnel involved are adequately screened and trained and no unreasonable cost or records-keeping burden be imposed on license applicants.
What's more, the bill prohibits the Department of Transportation from spending any state money to comply with Real ID and encourages the Attorney General to challenge its legality.
Implementing Real ID would cost nearly $22 million -- for everything from additional staff at the Department of Motor Vehicles to data processing, enhanced security and new card stock for the licenses -- in the biennium now being budgeted, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported.
A new $10 "security verification fee" proposed by Gov. Jim Doyle to cover the costs of complying with Real ID will fall more than $11 million short, the bureau said. A $15 fee would reduce the shortfall to $756,000. Federal funds available for Real ID compliance are projected to be just over $600,000.
The logistical obstacles are staggering, Molepske said. "They're asking 245 million people to stand in line at the DMV between 2008 and 2013 to fight terrorism."
He's skeptical that the legislation will survive opposition by the airline industry and others that depend on air travel and tourism.
"We want to convince policymakers to open this up," he said.
Governmental groups, including the National Conference of State Legislatures and the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, have gone on record against Real ID.
The liberal American Civil Liberties Union also has been a vocal critic of Real ID, and Stacy Harbaugh, community advocate for the ACLU of Wisconsin, praised the Molepske-Wood legislation.
"Wisconsin finally is stepping up to become of the many states saying they won't do this," Harbaugh said.
The law also is contrary to traditional conservative principles, Wood said. "This was done without the majority of conservatives being fully aware of the implications. When they realize what it means in terms of personal liberties and centralization of government power, I think people will be furious," he said.
Molepske said he's treading carefully not to challenge Sensenbrenner. "I called and told him we're doing this. We want it to be as non-confrontational as possible."
Wood said opposition to Real ID in Sensenbrenner's home state would be very significant.
"How Wisconsin goes will be how the country goes," he said.

1 comment:

elliot said...

I will stop thinking of the ACLU as a liberal organization when it begins defending the Second Amendment as vociferously as they (sometimes) do the First.