Rocky erroneously reported Colorado "not ... objecting" to federal Real ID Act


In reporting on state legislatures' criticisms of the federal Real ID Act, a June 20 Rocky Mountain News article falsely stated that "Colorado is not among the states objecting" to the bill, which is set to go into effect in 2008. Contrary to the News' report, Colorado's legislature in May passed a resolution urging the state's congressional delegation to support repeal of the measure.

A June 20 article in the Rocky Mountain News about criticism of the federal Real ID Act by state legislatures across the country incorrectly reported that "Colorado is not among the states objecting" to the bill's requirements. In fact, in May the Colorado General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution 1047, which "urges Colorado's delegation to the United States Congress to support measures to repeal the REAL ID Act."

As the News article by Ann Imse reported, "If the federal Real ID Act takes effect next May, as planned, the number of people showing up at Division of Motor Vehicles offices could grow six-fold." The News further reported:

That's because all 3.8 million residents with Colorado identification will be required to show up in person to have their photo and documentation checked, instead of renewing by mail, said Debora Jerome, project coordinator for the state driver's license administration.

The federal Real ID Act is controversial, with privacy activists condemning it, and dozens of state legislatures critical.

Montana and Washington have flat refused to comply, even though driver's licenses issued by those states could no longer be used to fly commercially or enter federal buildings. Two dozen Congress members are ready to repeal it.

Colorado is not among the states objecting. Colorado already has in place many of the new federal requirements -- and it already has the long lines predicted nationwide if the Real ID Act takes effect.

In fact, H.J.R. 1047, signed by Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff (D-Denver) on May 10 and Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald (D-Coal Creek) on May 14, opposes "DIVISION B OF AN ACT OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS ENTITLED 'EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR DEFENSE, THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR, AND TSUNAMI RELIEF, 2005' ... ALSO KNOWN AS THE REAL ID ACT." The resolution cited concerns over "freedom of privacy," "costly, unfunded mandate[s]," and "identity theft" among primary reasons to repeal the bill. H.J.R. 1047 resolved:

(1) That the Colorado General Assembly supports the government of the United States in its campaign against terrorism and affirms the commitment of the United States that the campaign not be waged at the expense of essential civil rights and liberties of citizens of this country that are protected in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights; and

(2) That it is the policy of Colorado to oppose any portion of the REAL ID Act that violates the rights and liberties guaranteed under the Colorado Constitution or the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights; and

(3) That the General Assembly will enact no legislation nor authorize any appropriation to further the passage of the REAL ID Act in Colorado unless such appropriation will be used exclusively for the purpose of undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the costs of implementing the REAL ID Act, or to mount a constitutional challenge to the Act by the state Attorney General; and

(4) That the General Assembly urges Colorado's delegation to the United States Congress to support measures to repeal the REAL ID Act.

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