(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Gov. Jim Gibbons has signed emergency regulations that will allow the state to meet a Jan. 1 federal deadline so Nevada residents can use their current drivers’ licenses and identification cards to comply with the federal Real ID Act.
The regulations will enable the state Department of Motor Vehicles to comply with 18 benchmarks required to become “materially compliant” with the federal law resulting from the act.
“By becoming materially compliant with the law, 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,” said DMV Director Edgar Roberts. “Those born before Dec. 1, 1964 can use the cards until Dec.1, 2017.”
Gibbons asked that specific language prohibiting the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips or other technology used to track individuals be 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 to reassure our customers,” Roberts said. “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.
Gibbons signed the emergency regulations Tuesday despite being asked not to do so by the ACLU of Nevada.
Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel to the ACLU of Nevada, called the act an unfunded federal mandate that puts the privacy rights of Nevadans at risk.
In a response to the ACLU letter to Gibbons, Roberts said the ACLU was repeating misinformation about the changes to the DMV process of issuing licenses and identification cards.
“The department does not want nor need any personal information about an individual other than proof of identity, lawful status and proof of residency,” Roberts said.