Norris Amendment Opposing REAL ID Adopted by Tennessee General Assembly

June 19, 2007

Norris Amendment Opposing REAL ID Adopted by Tennessee
General Assembly

NASHVILLE, Tenn.Senate Joint Resolution 248, authored by Senator Douglas Henry (D-Nashville) and amended by Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville), opposing implementation of the REAL ID Act of 2005 was adopted by the General Assembly before adjournment last week.

The REAL ID Act sets forth requirements for states to comply with federal standards for citizen identification cards.  This includes machine-readable ID cards which many feel is a violation of constitutional rights of privacy.

The Department of Homeland Security has indicated interest in radio frequency identification tags, or RFID, which could potentially be used to track the movements of every American citizen with an ID card.  The Act also states that an enormous database be constructed of every American with an ID card to be shared across state lines.

“Violation of privacy and unfunded mandates are a real concern with this Act,” said Norris.  The specter of Big Brother watching is too real.”

It has been estimated that it would cost the state of Tennessee at least $100 million to enact the changes necessary to comply.  The Bredesen Administration had originally budgeted $26.5 million for 2007-2008.  That was reduced to $1 million in the final budget approved last week.

If the federal government is going to mandate such a policy, the federal funding for its implementation should be provided.  To burden the citizens of Tennessee and every other state is unreasonable,” says Norris.

The Henry-Norris resolution urges our Congressional delegation to support efforts to repeal the REAL ID Act.

Norris sponsored a similar resolution for adoption by the sixteen state Southern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments last year.

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