Sen. Franzen Update: February 3, 2017

A weekly message from your Senator

Dear Constituents and Friends,

The REAL ID came up in Senate and House committees this week. The Senate Transportation Committee passed a bill through that would allow the Department of Public Safety to come into compliance with federal REAL ID standards. Most senators were in agreement that they hoped to pass a clean bill to the Governor. The House bill still contains more controversial language.

Another important event that took place this week was a large press conference featuring legislators, doctors, nurses, and other advocates all in favor of the Minnesota Health Plan. The new universal plan would cut costs and provide quality, affordable care for all Minnesotans. It’s also an alternative to the health reform debate.

The basic tenets of the Minnesota Health Plan include:

  • Health care is a basic right.
  • Patients and doctors should control their health care, not the government or insurance companies.
  • Premiums are based on ability to pay, so they are affordable to all.
  • The Minnesota Health Plan saves money by eliminating bureaucratic insurance system, not by denying care.
  • All providers are “in-network” – an especially critical factor in Greater Minnesota.

I welcome your thoughts about this approach to provide affordable health care options for Minnesotans.

Sincerely,

Senator Melisa Franzen

Senate one step closer to implementing Real ID

The Senate heard the REAL ID implementation bill this week. The bill would grant the Department of Public Safety (DPS) the authority to make Minnesota driver’s licenses and IDs compliant with the federal standards. The bill creates a two-tier system with a REAL ID compliant ID and driver’s license and a noncompliant instate ID and driver’s license. This allows those who have privacy concerns and those who will not be traveling by airplane to maintain their current driver’s license and ID, while also allowing the traveling public to get a REAL ID compliant ID or driver’s license. DPS would have to begin issuing compliant IDs and driver’s licenses by Oct. 1, 2018.

The Transportation and Public Safety Committee adopted a few amendments that should help alleviate some of the concerns among some stakeholders. The Senate took out language that required Minnesotans to provide proof of citizenship when applying for a noncompliant REAL ID. This was a major sticking point during 2016’s Conference Committee negotiations. However, this language remains in the House version of the bill. The Senate Transportation Committee also adopted an amendment paying for the costs associated with fee waivers for some license holders who would be required to get a compliant license out of the natural schedule. However, no funding was provided for the cost in the details. 

Upcoming REAL ID Deadlines:

  • Now until Jan. 22, 2018
    • The TSA says it will continue to accept Minnesota driver’s licenses as a form of identification to board domestic flights.
  • Jan. 23, 2018 through Oct. 1, 2020
    • Licenses from all compliant states (or noncompliant states with an extension) will be accepted. Minnesota is currently noncompliant and has not been granted an extension by the federal government.
    • People with licenses from noncompliant states without extensions, including Minnesota, will need to show another form of ID, such as a passport or EDL, to board a flight.