The Senate voted last week to adopt Senate Resolution 270, legislation I filed urging Congress to repeal the REAL ID Act of 2005. It has been 12 years since Congress passed REAL ID, which is why I first think it is important to remind everyone of the circumstances surrounding its passage. At the time REAL ID was signed into law, there had been no serious debate about it in either the U.S. House or Senate. This is because REAL ID was passed as part of a budget bill that included critical funding for tsunami relief and the Global War on Terrorism.
Due to serious privacy concerns, the Missouri General Assembly passed a bill in 2009 that said we were not going to comply with REAL ID. Although it was passed by a Republican-controlled Legislature, a Democratic governor signed the measure into law. In 2013, we passed another bill to prevent the Department of Revenue from scanning our private, personal documents and retaining them in a database. That legislation was also signed by a Democratic governor. One year later, the people of Missouri approved Amendment 9 to ensure their personal privacy is not violated by our government. So three times in recent years, Missouri has fought back against the relentless pursuit of government to undermine our personal privacy rights as citizens of this country. Despite our resistance, and that of other states, the federal government has continued to push forward with implementation of the REAL ID Act.
I believe the REAL ID Act violates not one, but three constitutional amendments. It violates the First Amendment because citizens without REAL IDs are not allowed to enter federal buildings, which means they cannot petition their government. It violates our Fourth Amendment right to privacy because it forces individuals to submit their personal documents to the government for scanning and retention — if a person objects, he or she cannot get a REAL ID. Finally, I believe REAL ID violates the 10th Amendment because the federal government is forcing states to comply or risk their citizens being unable to board domestic flights.
For these reasons, as well as the ongoing privacy concerns, I think it is important for Missouri lawmakers to send a clear message to our delegates in Washington that we are opposed to the REAL ID Act. While other states may have yielded to pressure from the federal government, I do not believe Missouri should follow suit. Now is the time for the Show-Me State to stand firm and call on the federal government to repeal the REAL ID Act.
Join the conversation and follow me on Twitter @SenWillKraus. Pease feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and will try to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at (573) 751-1464, or email at Will.Kraus@Senate.Mo.Gov.
Senator Will Kraus serves Eastern Jackson County in the 8th State Senatorial District.