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March 1, 2014

Tarr ID push gets silence from Patrick

State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and a bipartisan coalition of other state legislators are continuing to hammer Gov. Deval Patrick because Massachusetts lags most states in complying with the federal Real ID Act designed to strengthen the integrity of driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards.

In a Feb. 27 letter to Patrick, Tarr and 31 other legislators — including seven Democrats — urged Patrick to be more forthcoming with the state’s plans for complying with the 2005 federal law, which is scheduled for a staggered rollout of enforcement beginning in April.

“Several questions remain regarding Masachusetts’ compliance with the Real ID Act legislation,” the legislators wrote. “First, it is clear that (the Registry of Motor Vehicles) has made little or no progress since we wrote you last February. Has the RMV opted to move forward with further actions necessary to bring the Commonwealth into compliance with the real ID Act? If not, why is Massachusetts not moving forward?”

Patrick’s office declined comment yesterday on the letter and referred questions to the state Department of Transportation, which oversees the Registry of Motor Vehicles. DOT issued the same statement it had two weeks ago, saying it was engaged with the federal Department of Homeland Security to address outstanding concerns.

“This is a growing concern for legislators in both chambers and in both parties,” Tarr said yesterday. “The state hasn’t been forthcoming about the lack of progress toward coming into compliance. This is unacceptable. We deserve better than the silence we’ve gotten so far.”

Massachusetts is one of 12 states not yet in full compliance with the federal Real ID legislation that Congress passed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that featured large-scale use of fake driver licenses and other documents of identification by the plotters.

At its core, the Real ID law seeks to strengthen the integrity of states’ driver’s licenses and state-issued identity cards by employing stricter measures to verify citizenship or legal immigration.

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