The state of Washington emerged as another opponent to the REAL ID act Thursday, with Governor Chris Gregoire signing state legislation rejecting the controversial federal law. Washington is now the fifth state to pass such a measure, joining Maine, Arkansas, Idaho, and Montana. Montana's Governor Brian Schweitzer just signed anti-REAL ID legislation into law earlier this week. The Washington legislation passed both state houses with strong support, as legislators railed against what they considered an "unfunded mandate." The measure dictates that the state not spend money implementing the REAL ID act unless privacy and security concerns are addressed, unreasonable costs and record-keeping burdens are not placed on citizens, and the state receives federal money to put the act’s requirements into effect. Further, the bill also allows the state attorney general, with the approval of the governor, to challenge the constitutionality of the act. The Washington State Department of Licensing estimates it would cost $96.7 million over the next two years and $93.4 million in 2009-2011 to implement the REAL ID act. Washington is already developing procedures and technology to make its driver's license secure enough to act as a border-crossing document.
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