House Speaker Pro-Tem Sherm Packard Statement on Signing of HB1616

CONCORD – Prime Sponsor of HB1616, New Hampshire House Speaker Pro Tem Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry), issued the following statement on the signing of the bill that addresses New Hampshire’s compliance with federal identification laws, commonly referred to as REAL ID. HB1616 provides a mechanism to transition New Hampshire State issued IDs to a compliant version, which will in turn ensure that current IDs are acceptable for travel and other common purposes during a 5-year transition period.

“This is a very important piece of legislation that will ensure New Hampshire citizens don’t need to carry multiple forms of identification when they travel or visit federal buildings,” Packard said. “As soon as the federal government alerted us to the fact that they would begin to enforce federal ID standards in the coming year, we got the pieces in place to ensure that the legislature can solve the problem before it becomes a problem.”

“No one has to worry about changing their license right away. By passing this New Hampshire specific bill, we will still be able to use our current IDs without a problem for travel and other purposes during a 5-year transition period,” Packard continued. “We are giving citizens the ability to opt-in to the REAL ID program. If they object to providing certain personal information required for a federally accepted ID, they can get a traditional ID. We believe that most granite staters will choose to opt-in and have an ID they can use universally.”

Under the bill, if a New Hampshire citizen opts-in, the Department of Safety would keep their social security number and photo on file. Should they decide not to opt-in, they can keep and use a traditional license, and, at their request, their social security number and photo will not be kept on file. However, if they decide not to opt-in, their passport will be required to travel on domestic flights and enter certain government buildings. The non-compliant cards will incorporate a unique design and clearly indicate that the document may not be accepted for official purposes.

“Important to note,” said Packard, “is that our compliance with REAL ID will not create a national ID card, it will not put New Hampshire citizens in a federal database of driver information, and federal authorities will not have access to any state data.”