By Joyce Peppin
According to the federal Department of Homeland Security, if Minnesota does not pass Real ID legislation, starting in January 2018, a Minnesota-issued driver’s license will no longer be an acceptable form of identification to board an airplane. A Real ID license would contain minimum security standards required by the federal government. (Learn more about Real ID at www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs.
If Minnesota is on the path to compliance, our state can get an extension through 2020. That’s why House committees are moving House File 3 through the legislative process quickly, with the bill being heard in both the Civil Law & Data Practices and Transportation & Regional Governance Policy committees earlier this week.
You may recall that last session, Real ID legislation stalled over an insistence by some Democrat Senators to expand driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants through Department of Public Safety rulemaking. With a new legislature in place this year, the House is once again advancing Real ID compliance legislation (House File 3) to ensure that Minnesotans can continue to fly domestically with a state-issued ID.
House File 3 is similar to the bill passed last year in the House 87-42, providing a two-tier system so Minnesotans can choose whether or not to get a Real ID-compliant license. Additionally, because of the timing of this bill, if someone needs to upgrade to a Real ID license before their current license expires, they will be provided a second new ID free of charge.
Opponents of Real ID believe the government collecting additional information and storing it on a driver’s license is unnecessary and a further erosion of civil liberties. Stay tuned for more debate on this important issue.
Working for Rogers’ Taxpayers — This year, I reintroduced legislation to help ease the unfair tax burden paid to the fiscal disparities pool by contributor cities like Rogers. This outdated program (established in the early 1970s and largely unchanged since then) transfers millions in property tax dollars from communities like Rogers to cities in other metro counties — dollars that could be used in our community or returned to taxpayers.
House File 166 will create fairness caps for cities like Rogers that don’t benefit from the Metropolitan Council’s infrastructure transit system, a core service that was originally promised to participating municipalities.
If signed into law, a metro municipality that lies outside the transit area and contributes less than 8 percent of its total net tax capacity to the fiscal disparities pool will be allowed to retain a portion of the state general levy paid by businesses in the city to offset the loss of tax revenue.
While the legislation is a bit complicated, the big takeaway is that these funds will either be kept within Rogers and used in the community or returned to taxpayers instead of being sent to other metro cities.
Brockton Interchange Project — Last year, the House passed bipartisan legislation that included $34 million for the Brockton Lane Exit in Dayton—a bill that later died in the Senate over a controversial light rail amendment. This year, I am again advocating for the funding of this important project which will construct a full access point and auxiliary lanes on I-94 east of the existing Highway 101 overpass. This stretch of freeway is currently one of the longest without an exit in the entire metro.
House File 228 will help build this key interchange, alleviate traffic and make accessing south and east Rogers, as well as the city of Dayton, much easier.
I am hopeful that we can get HF 228 passed this session as part of a larger transportation package and will keep you updated on the bill.
Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers) is the state representative for 34-A serving Rogers, Dayton and parts of Maple Grove.