Conservative group wants Baker to take hard stance on IDs
By Evan Lips | July 1, 2016, 13:09 EST
BOSTON — A conservative Bay State coalition is ramping up efforts to try and convince Gov. Charlie Baker to veto any budgetary language that calls for issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens as part of bringing Massachusetts in compliance with the federal Real ID act.
The Renew Massachusetts Coalition, an organization led by outgoing Republican State Committeewoman Chanel Prunier, stated in a press release issued Thursday that it is redoubling its efforts as Beacon Hill lawmakers this month finalize the state budget.
“There are conflicting interpretations of the language within the budget moving (Massachusetts) toward compliance with federal Real ID licensing standards,” Prunier wrote in the release. “Some argue they will enable future administrations to weaken regulations regarding issuance of licenses to non-citizens. Other strong voices disagree.
“One thing is clear: We must tell the Governor that our state should reject the idea of issuing any license to an individual who is here illegally.”
Federal lawmakers crafted and passed the Real ID Act during the years following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center as part of efforts to thwart terrorism. The law requires states to issue highly secure forms of identification, potentially replacing driver’s licenses.
Baker in March filed his own draft of Real ID legislation but during April House budget deliberations Republican lawmakers introduced an amendment, identical to Baker’s proposal. The joint Committee on Transportation has noted that Massachusetts has until October to meet federal Transportation Security Administration identification standards.
If the state fails to act before the deadline, there exists a possibility that individuals with Massachusetts driver’s licenses will not be able to board airplanes at major airports, according to the committee.
Under the amendment passed by the House, the compliant licenses would be marked with a yellow star. In order to receive the compliant license, individuals would be required to show proof of citizenship or lawful United States status.
Renew Massachusetts, according to a form letter posted to the organization’s website, is looking to “reject the idea of issuing Real ID-compliant licenses to individuals who are here legally, but not citizens.”
It is unlikely, however, that Baker — a moderate Republican — will adopt the conservative, hard-line stance endorsed by backers of organizations like Renew Massachusetts. Baker has already made it clear he prefers a less conservative Republican State Committee, as evidenced by the Swampscott Republican’s efforts behind the scenes to affect committee elections.
In March he publicly backed state Rep. Keiko Orrall (R-Lakeville) in her quest to unseat Prunier. Prunier ultimately lost to Orrall.