Maine nears deal on REAL ID rules

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Maine legislative committee neared a deal on Thursday that would bring the state into compliance with a federal identification program that the state has spurned for a decade over privacy concerns.

The proposal has been fought by Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, who has aimed to preserve a 2007 law that bars the state from complying with the federal REAL ID Act. In January, the federal government stopped accepting Maine driver’s licenses at certain facilities, including military bases.

Maine has implemented many provisions of REAL ID, a program that standardized licenses as a response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But it’s one of five states in non-compliance, having balked at controversial data warehousing requirements in the law, such as using facial recognition software in the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and fingerprinting bureau employees.

On Thursday, some on the Legislature’s Transportation Committee indicated support for a bill from Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, that would implement the program with amendments allowing residents to opt out and set fees for REAL ID licenses at $55 compared to $35 for a normal license, but the committee delayed a vote amid uncertainty around an effective date of compliance.

The Fiddlehead Focus / St. John Valley Times staff are pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “Maine nears deal on REAL ID rules,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Michael Shepherd, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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