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NEWS FROM: Directors Office 09-018

Governor Signs Emergency Driver’s License Regulations
Regulations will allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to meet the Department of Homeland Security’s Dec. 31 deadline

Governor Gibbons Tuesday signed emergency regulations that will allow the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to meet a federal deadline so that Nevadans can use the state’s current driver’s licenses and identification cards for federal purposes after December 31, 2009. The regulations will enable the Department to comply with 18 benchmarks required to become “materially compliant” with the federal law resulting from the Real ID Act.

“By becoming materially compliant with the law,” DMV Director Edgar Roberts said, “Nevadans who were born after Dec. 1, 1964 may continue to use their existing Nevada driver’s licenses or ID cards for federal purposes until Dec. 1, 2014. Those born before Dec. 1, 1964 can use the cards until Dec.1, 2017.”

Upon the recommendation of the Legislative Commission’s Subcommittee to Review Regulations on Nov. 24, 2009, the Department submitted draft Emergency Regulations to the Governor. At the recommendation of the Governor, specific language that prohibits the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips or other technology used to track individuals was included in the final Emergency Regulations. The regulations also define how the DMV will store and restrict access to personal identification data.

“We included the language recommended by the Governor in the regulations,” Roberts said, “to reassure our customers. Rumors on the blogosphere about RFID chips and national databases of driver information have been widely circulated despite being false.”

If Nevada failed to meet the materially compliant deadline, Nevadans would be unable to use their existing driver’s licenses or ID cards as identification when boarding an aircraft or entering a federal building that requires identification after Dec. 31, 2009. A passport, military ID card or other form of ID approved by the Department of Homeland Security would be required or the individual would face additional security screening.

Testifying before the United State Senate Committee on the Judiciary today, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said, referring to a stalled bill that would modify the current law to make it easier for states to comply, “Should Congress not act before it adjourns this year, we have planned for contingencies related to REAL ID implementation to minimize the impact to U.S. citizens. Any of these steps, however, would represent a temporary approach that does not advance our collective security interests over the long-term.”

“The regulations signed by the Governor yesterday give the Department the flexibility to move forward with what Congress decides to do or what contingencies DHS may implement,” Roberts said. “There is little difference between the current law and the proposed changes. Nevada is on solid footing regardless.”

The Department plans to begin issuing Advanced Secure Issuance licenses and ID cards that comply with the federal law in January.

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