Gee, I remember a political party, seems like it was not too long ago, that railed against unfunded mandates and trumpeted States’ Rights.
What ever happened to them?
States are threatening to challenge in court and even disobey new orders from Congress to start issuing more uniform driver’s licenses and verify the citizenship or legal status of people getting them.
There is concern among some states that they’ll get stuck with a large tab to pay for implementing the new rules and that getting a driver’s license will become a bigger headache for law-abiding residents.
“Governors are looking at all their options. If more than half of the governors agree we’re not going down without a fight on this, Congress will have to consider changing this unfunded federal mandate,” said Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, vice chairman of the National Governors Association. A Huckabee aide said the options include court action.
“What passed is something that will be an enormous amount of work and it’s questionable what it’s going to yield,” said Democrat Matt Dunlap, Maine’s secretary of state. “Is it going to yield national security or is it going to be hassle for people already complying with the law?”
“That adds to the cost and throws everything into the woods,” Dunlap said.
Virginia’s motor vehicle department estimated it would have to spend $237 million to comply with the bill passed by the House if it maintains its current level of customer service. Some changes to the final legislation could alter the estimate, a spokeswoman said.
The bill allows the Homeland Security secretary to offer grants to help states to comply, but doesn’t provide money.
States will have three years after the president signs the bill to obey the rules. If they don’t, their residents won’t be able to board planes or enter federally protected buildings.
Another concern for states is preventing identity theft if licenses carry more information, said Michael Balboni, a Republican New York state senator. Balboni and Dunlap represented the National Conference of State Legislatures on a now defunct panel Congress created in December to design new driver’s license rules. The conference opposes the new rules.