In a major victory for privacy rights, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has stopped issuing REAL ID-compliant identification cards and licenses. After multiple hearings with strong public opposition, the issue was not re-agendized for permanent approval.
After the bill implementing REAL ID in Nevada died in the 2009 legislative session, advocates for privacy rights assumed the broader issue was likewise dead. However, REAL ID surprisingly became a real possibility last December when Governor Gibbons signed an “emergency” regulation to implement it Nevada. An underfunded federal mandate, REAL ID has put Nevadans’ due process rights at risk and has never included adequate privacy protections. Even the liberty to choose between REAL ID-compliant or non-compliant cards, as is allowed by the current federal rules on REAL ID, was taken away from some Nevadans under the emergency regulations.
Under state law, once the Governor put the emergency regulation into place, the DMV had 120 days to propose changes to the Legislative Commission, which has the final say in permanently approving those changes. During that time, countless Nevadans spoke out against REAL ID by sending letters to their legislators and testifying at public hearings. Even legislators expressed dislike for REAL ID's forced implementation in Nevada and across the nation.
This strong opposition likely contributed to the quiet move of the Legislative Commission to not agendize the proposed changes before the emergency regulations expired.
The DMV has promised to "seek legislative approval” to bring Nevada back into compliance with the federal REAL ID mandate by May 1, 2011. But the ACLU of Nevada will continue to work with our allies to fight any de facto national ID, whether it re-emerges at the 2011 legislative session as REAL ID, on the national scene as PASS ID, or in any other form. When that time comes, we hope you’ll continue working with us to defeat REAL ID once and for all.