Thursday, February 01, 2007

Montana Joins The Rebel Alliance

by Sara

Via Hunter at Random, we learn that Montana's joined the fight against Real ID. Yesterday, their legislature voted -- almost unanimously -- in favor of two bills that expressed the state's intention to defy the act.

Dan Testa of New West Missoula tells us about it:
Applause broke out in the House today after lawmakers passed the second of two bills to deny and nullify a Federal Law which increases the restrictions placed on drivers licenses.

House Bill 287, by Rep. Brady Wiseman, D-Bozeman, denies the implementation of the Federal ID Act. The bill passed with a 99-1 vote.

“Tell the nation, in no uncertain terms, that Congress has made a mistake,” Wiseman urged lawmakers, adding that he had committments from about 24 other state legislatures to consider similar legislation.

Immediately after, House Bill 384 passed with a 100-0 vote. Sponsored by, Rep. Diane Rice, R-Harrison, the bill nullifies the Real ID Law, which would require Montanans to give a minimum standard of proof of residency before getting a driver’s license.

Speaking in heated tones to her colleagues, Rep. Deborah Kottel, D-Great Falls said she hoped these votes would send a strong message to the rest of the nation.

“I hope this bill goes to the US Supreme Court,” Kottel said, “to protect us from the abuses of the federal government when it over-reaches itself.”
Thomas Frank, reporting in USA Today, notes that six other states -- Hawaii, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont and Washington -- also have active bills that will be coming up for votes soon. He quotes Barry Steinhardt of the ACLU, who thinks that "If one state says no, or another state follows Maine, the whole house of cards collapses" -- and points out that having a Democratic Congress makes that more likely, since the Democrats of the 109th (to their credit) didn't give the bill much support the first time around.

More as it happens. If you haven't called your state legislators on this, now would be a good time.

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