MN GOP Leadership Twisting Arms on Unconstitutional "REAL ID"

** updated information and maps can be found on our REAL ID issue page **


The MN GOP leadership is twisting arms to pass an unconstitutional bill. We were disappointed yesterday to see most House Transportation Policy and Finance Committee Republicans vote to pass REAL ID 14-9.

Two Republicans voted NO (Reps. Steve Drazkowski and Eric Lucero - Thank them! Emails addresses below) and two Democrats voted YES. 

We heard about a 2.5 hour arm-twisting session on the REAL ID bill, H.F. 3959 on Wednesday. The four "no" votes that apparently had stopped the bill from getting a hearing on Tuesday dropped to only two "no" votes yesterday and the bill passed (see vote below).

There is only one more House committee (Ways and Means) until a floor vote on the REAL ID-FOR-ALL House bill. Meanwhile, the Senate two-track bill will be heard in its last two committees next week, after passing today.

House Republicans need to hear from you. Help them stand up to GOP leadership's unconstitutional plan to require Minnesotans to get a Federal driver's license (REAL ID) under Federal control! 

During testimony, we showed the graphic you see above to point out the many non-compliant states -- and states with laws prohibiting REAL ID, including Minnesota. We need your help to keep MN's 2009 prohibition intact. KEY FACTS: States can't be forced to comply with REAL ID and you can still fly without REAL ID!

Perhaps the most interesting part of the hearing -- the time the room got really quiet -- was when I was testifying and Chairman Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing) interrupted my testimony and tried to stop me from testifying on anything but the funding section of the bill -- and I countered him.

WATCH HERE (this dialogue starts at 14:00)

CHAIR KELLY: Ms. Brase, if you could, please push your comments to what we’re – this transportation committee is looking for. Like I said, rulemaking, data practices all those issues were both discussed in government operations and civil law. So we do have a discussion on the funding here, and I guess I’d ask for your comments to be confined to what we’re talking about today. 

BRASE: Mr. Chair, I must ask you. This bill has 19 provisions that are related to transportation. This is the transportation policy committee. There has not been a transportation policy discussion. This committee is not limited to finance. This bill actually says, the first words of this bill say, “a bill for an act relating to transportation.” It would seem to me that since this is a policy committee, we should also have the right as citizens to talk about policy.

KELLY: I understand that Ms. Brase. If this was the first stop for this bill, I would – I would-- fully agree with you. I believe that this bill has been vetted in two committees already on the House side, and going to Ways and Means as well. So I believe that we’ve had this discussion.

BRASE: So Mr. Chair, one more thing. If we only needed to do that, there would be no need for additional committees. There are lots of people around this table here that have never had any part of this discussion that was in the last two committees. And this is their opportunity as transportation committee members to actually hear the policy concerns, which I believe is the purpose of the committees.

KELLY: Thank you for your input.

Thus, I continued my testimony to the end. Tellingly, almost none of the rest of the committee's discussion touched on funding or the bill's fiscal note (cost). It was virtually all policy discussion. Before the vote, Reps. Nash and Whelan expressed concerns about the bill. 

Transportation Committee 14-9 Vote on House File 3959 (REAL ID)...with Member Contact Information:

YES  (Voted to support REAL ID)

Chair Rep. Tim Kelly 651-296-8635,
Rep. Chad Anderson, 651-296-4218,
Rep. Mark Anderson, 651-296-4293,
Rep. Jeff Howe, 651-296-4373,
Rep. Jon Koznick, 651-296-6926,
Rep. Denny McNamara, 651-296-3135,
Rep. Jim Nash, 651-296-4282,
Rep. John Petersburg, 651-296-5368,
Rep. Linda Runbeck, 651-296-2907,
Rep. Tim Sanders, 651-296-4226,
Rep. Mark Uglem, 651-296-5513,
Rep. Abigail Whelan, 651-296-1729,

Co-DFL Lead Rep. Ron Erhardt, 651-296-4363,
Rep. Kim Norton, 651-296-9248,  (she stated that the largest employer in her district asked her to vote for it - likely the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN - even though she didn't support it)

NO (Voted to oppose REAL ID)

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, 651-296-2273,
Rep. Eric Lucero, 651-296-1534,

Co-DFL Lead Rep. Frank Hornstein, 651-296-9281
Rep. Joe Atkins, 651-296-4192,
Rep. Connie Bernardy, 651-296-5510,
Rep. Alice Hausman, 651-296-3824,
Rep. Clark Johnson, 651-296-8634,
Rep. Sandra Masin, 651-296-3533,
Rep. Mike Sundin, 651-296-4308,

NOTE: Many Democrats voted against the bill because they want a two-track system that gives people a choice between a REAL ID-compliantfederal ID and driver's license and a non-REAL-ID-compliant ID/DL (DFL's Senate File 3589). That's a false choice. Under REAL ID, non-compliant IDs and driver's licenses (and databases) are also under federal control. In fact, Homeland Security could unilaterally decide "driving" is a new "official purpose" of REAL ID, invalidating the non-compliant driver's licenses.

PLEASE ACT: Republicans seem increasingly hesitant to follow the GOP leadership's demand that they pass REAL ID. It's just two weeks and one days to the end of session on Monday, May 23. Please act now. 

Contact GOP Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) (; 651-296-5364) and your state legislatorsAsk them to "vote no" on HF 3959.  Their "no" vote will say no to the creation of a FEDERAL ID and no to the FEDERAL CONTROL of the ID that you'll be required to use not only for flying and driving, but likely for everything the Feds decide you'll need it for in the future (purchases, hotel registration, health care, car rental, bank access, firearms, and more).