Real ID One Step Closer to Floor Vote in the Senate

Image Credit: Alpha News MN/Preya Samsundar

The Real ID bill finds an unusual ally in the State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee.

ST. PAUL, Minn — Real ID continues to blaze through various Senate Committees. On Thursday, the controversial bill was heard by State Senators in the Committee on State Government Finance and Policy and Elections.

As reported by Alpha News MN, the Senate’s version of the bill differs from the House bill in one small, but important way. The Senate’s version of the bill, authored by Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake) does not include language that would prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining a Real ID.

The hearing room was filled with immigrants who showed their support for the current language of the bill that would allow them to get licenses. The group erupted in applause after an attorney testified in favor of licensing undocumented citizens. The committee hearing can be seen here.

Real ID passed the committee with a unanimous vote. Sen. Mark Koran (R-North Branch) was expected to vote no, but voted yes. In an interview with Alpha News, Koran explains his stance on Real ID.

“I’m against it [Real ID] from the perspective of I’m not sure special legislation is needed based on what we have in place today. I agreed to allow them the rules portion of it in the committee yesterday, and I agreed to allow it through because most want to see it on the floor to have healthy debates and discussion” Koran said.

Koran, as someone who travels for business, has multiple qualifying ID’s accepted for travel. He explained he felt comfortable voting Real ID through as two factors have changed. “There are two things that changed which would allow it to pass through committee. It is the change making Real ID optional, and the second is the component that there is not a path in our citizen base for illegal [immigrants]. Those are the reasons I allowed it to pass from a committee standpoint.”

There has been controversy surrounding Real ID. As reported by Alpha News MN, Republican activists are upset with the lack of data privacy restrictions.  Democrats argue that the bill in the House seeks to deny undocumented immigrants to live a healthy life in Minnesota by denying them driver’s licenses. Also reported by Alpha News MN, allegations of strong-arming by Republican leadership to quiet opposition against Real ID has also surfaced in recent days.

Currently, Real ID is on the House floor waiting for a vote, while the bill would need to move through another committee in the Senate before reaching the floor.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.