O'Malley's position on Real ID
UPDATE: See new comments from Mike Miller below.
A number of readers have asked what Gov. Martin O'Malley's position is on Real ID and the varying legislation the two chambers are pursuing related to driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. (In case you're just joining us, the Senate would require proof of legal residency in the U.S. to get a new license or to apply for a renewal, but the House of Delegates wants to grandfather in illegal immigrants who now have licenses and to label theirs as "not federally compliant.") Here's the answer, in an e-mail from O'Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec that Julie Bykowicz just forwarded me:
Julie – the Governor said this morning that there are legitimate arguments for either bill, and if either were to come out of conference he would sign it. He did give a preference to the House version as a more practical, reasonable solution, but made clear he would sign either one.
Julie also reports that Senate President Mike Miller is sticking to his guns. Today he said:
I hope the governor will speak out on this issue. Both he and the speaker had previously favored the Senate’s position on this issue. It was their position before the start of the session, and I hope it will continue to be so. It’s not a question of pride. It’s not a question of authorship. It’s a question of effectiveness. I mean the hijackers of 9-11 had state licenses. They were citizens of a foreign country. Those people who committed fraud in obtaining licenses should not be able to renew them. That’s the Senate’s position.
Two-tiered system would allow those people who have fraudulent licenses to continue to renew those licenses. These licenses should not be examined on a case by case basis to make certain that anyone who has a Maryland drivers license complies with Real ID, the federal requirement.