SANTA FE - House Majority Floor Leader Ken Martinez, D-Grants, said Tuesday he is following up on concerns raised about the federal Real ID Act during an interim Judiciary Committee meeting in Las Cruces last year, and would introduce a memorial today opposing the law.

The memorial does not carry any real weight, but indicates to federal lawmakers that the state Legislature opposes the bill, which places new standards for the issuing of state driver's licenses.

"At that meeting there was universal disdain for that legislation," Martinez said of the September interim meeting in Las Cruces. "This act is a bad act. It doesn't work for America."

Supporters of the bill argued that it was a necessary tool for national security. Under the bill, only those with a federally accepted Real ID would be able to board an airplane or enter a federal building without other identification, such as a passport.

State lawmakers have until May 2008 to comply with the federal law. One of the provisions of that law is that it would require proof of citizenship for a person to get a state driver's license - something not now required in New Mexico. It also requires states to share their motor vehicle databases.

Martinez said he sees the bill as an infringement on state's rights.

"Driver's licenses issued by the states is a state issue," he said. "Demanding a federal database on national ID is really going beyond anything we imagined when we issue driver's licenses.


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He said the documents demanded under the new law don't even exist for some residents in the most rural parts of New Mexico - denying those residents the opportunity to drive.

"As a state, we should stand up to the federal government and tell them we won't do it," Martinez said.

Walter Rubel: wrubel@lcsun-news.com.