Panel balks at national ID participation

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Utah is a step closer to defying Washington.

A bill passed a House committee 6-1 on Friday to have Utah join with 21 other states that have banded together to oppose the Real ID Act.

The federal act, signed by former President George W. Bush in 2005, requires every state's Department of Motor Vehicles to transform driver licenses into national ID cards and store everyone's personal information on a digital database linked to every DMV across the country.

"If you have one corrupt person in the DMV, all of your information could be accessed," said Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, the bill's sponsor.

"Real ID has the potential to be one of the most destructive things to freedom this country has ever seen," said Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman.

On a local level, the act would also require Utah to spend $2 million to $4 million, money that could be better spent on education or human services in this damaged economy, said Rep. Jen Seelig, D-Salt Lake City.

If the federal government decides to implement the act in 2010, as scheduled, no Utahn will be able to board an airplane without the national ID. Rep. David Litvack expressed concern that Washington also might withhold its federal funding so long as Utah refuses to obey, or ask the state to return the $1.8 million in federal grants it received to create national IDs and the centralized database.

HB325 » Would prohibit the state from participating in the implementation of the federal REAL ID Act