Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Gov. Dayton signs bill to upgrade MN licenses to meet federal standards

Gov. Dayton signs bill to upgrade MN licenses to meet federal standards

If signed by Gov. Mark Dayton as expected, it will allow Minnesota to follow the other 49 US states in moving to upgrade their licensing systems.

Its passage allows the state to get an extension to continue using standard driver's licenses to board planes until October 2020.

State officials expect to begin issuing the new IDs sometime next year. If lawmakers and Dayton do not agree to a budget by the constitutionally required deadline, they will need to go into a special session because without a budget state government could shut down on July 1.

Minnesotans will only have to get a new license when your current license expires.

"Whether it's visiting a child at a military base or taking their family on vacation, Minnesotans deserve the peace-of-mind that with their normal driver's licenses they are fully capable of going about their lives and work", said Rep. Dennis Smith, a Republican from Maple Grove who authored the bill.

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Minnesota had been one of the last states in the nation to make sure its state driver's licenses adhere to the federal standards known as Real ID. After it was passed in 2005, they expressed concerns about data privacy under the Real ID Act, because it gave the Department of Homeland Security power to expand license data collection whenever it deemed appropriate.

While prospects for settling the budget remained cloudy, the Real ID agreement constituted actual progress on a long-unresolved issue.

Dayton has stated that a new budget deal must be reached, but the time frame to do so is unclear at this point. But Republicans have put a premium on tax cuts and transportation funding, making cuts to health care and government agency spending to pay for more than $800 million in tax breaks on property taxes, college tuition debt, estate taxes and more.

Momentum in budget talks was harder to find, even after both sides made some concessions a day earlier.

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