NJ Drops Stricter Requirements for Driver’s Licenses, Says ACLU
New Jersey has agreed to drop a program that sought stricter requirements for people to get or renew driver's
Officials agreed to drop the requirements, known as TRU-ID, after a judge in May upheld a temporary restraining order preventing the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission from implementing the program, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, which won the ruling, announced Friday.
The requirements were New Jersey's version of the federal Real ID program, which standardizes licenses and stores the information in a central database.
The ACLU claimed the agency improperly tried to impose the standards without publishing details or soliciting public comment.
The organization also claimed the requirements, which among other things said documents must be in English, would be difficult for some residents to meet.
"This settlement ensures that if the state attempts to impose these onerous restrictions on its residents, it will at least do so pursuant to the requirements of New Jersey law," said Ed Barocas, acting director of the ACLU New Jersey.
In a statement, the Motor Vehicles Commission said it will continue to issue identification under its six-point program that assigns points to identifying documents. An applicant must present six-points worth of valid documents.
"When the MVC decides to change its existing regulatory requirement for the way we issue drivers licenses and or non-driver IDs, we will then utilize the formal regulatory process," the statement said.
The state argued that delays in implementing the federal standards would pose a serious disruption for drivers and adversely affect other planned changes.
In 2014, federal authorities will require identification used for official purposes, such as boarding an airplane, be Real ID compliant for people born after 1964. People born before 1964 have until 2017 to obtain compliant identification.
But many states are opposed to Real ID. As of June, at least 17 states have passed legislation to oppose compliance with Real ID, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Ten others approved resolutions opposing the program.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)