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RE: [RLC-Action] Re: Maine Becomes First State in Nation to Reject Real ID

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  • R. Kenneth Lindell
    Hi Dave – I am pleased to take substantial responsibility to getting this snowball rolling here in Maine. When I was running for re-election I had planned
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 29, 2007
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      Hi Dave –

       

      I am pleased to take substantial responsibility to getting this snowball rolling here in Maine .  When I was running for re-election I had planned to introduce a bill to prohibit Maine from spending any resources to implement REAL ID.  When I lost my re-election I approached fellow RLC member Rep. Scott Lansley and asked him to put in the bill, which he did. 

       

      I also found out from my lawyer (who is on the board of the local ACLU affiliate – the Maine Civil Liberties Union (MCLU)) that the MCLU was making the fight against REAL ID a legislative priority.  They were promoting a non-binding resolution rejecting REAL ID.  The Democrat Senate Majority Leader Elizabeth Mitchell was asked to sponsor the resolution.  Scott Lansley and I met with the MCLU executive director and brokered a deal whereby Lansley would be the lead co-sponsor on the resolution and Mitchell would be the lead co-sponsor of the bill.  The RLC would work to gain Republican support and the MCLU would work to urge Democrats not to make the resolution into an opportunity for Bush-bashing. 

       

      Similar resolutions in the last four years have been very bitter and very partisan.  I had led a filibuster in the House at 2AM on the last day of the first session of the last legislature to kill a resolution condemning social security reform.  An anti-war resolution in the 121st legislature (this legislature in the 123rd) was so bitter that the lone Republican who voted for the resolution was hounded out of the party and is now a Democrat member of the House.

       

      I worked with the MCLU to make sure that the wording of the resolution (attached) did not contain any partisan language and was directed at the Congress AND the President.  Scott and I then went about lobbying the Senate and House Republicans.  I spoke with Republican Senate minority leaders Sen. Carol Weston and Sen. Richard Rosen. Both their districts overlap the district I represented in the House, we know each other well.  They agreed to let Jim Hamper of the Cato Institute address their caucus.  In the end we had four Republican Senators co-sponsor the resolution.  The Senate was the first to take up the resolution and approved it unanimously by roll call. This is significant as most “unanimous” votes go “under the hammer” without a recorded vote.

       

      The House Republican caucus was a tougher sell.  The first thing we did is make it known that the Democrats would run the matter without initiating any debate.  A debate might have resulted in various condemnations of the Bush administration that would have just angered Republicans.  We also made it clear that this was a bi-partisan effort with Rep. Lansley as the sponsor of the follow-up bill that would actually prohibit the State from implementing REAL ID.

       

      In the end we only last four Republicans.  One because he thought is was a good idea stating “they can put a chip in me if they want to if it will fight terrorism”.  One who said publicly that he thought it was a “dis” on the President – but privately I know he has an inside political axe to grind against Rep. Lansley.  Another thought REAL ID was about not giving licenses to illegal aliens. The other I have not spoken to, but I expect lingering bitterness over prior resolutions was the issue.

       

      The next step will be to pass the Bill prohibiting compliance.  That will have a public hearing in the Transportation committee.  I am hoping we get a unanimous report from committee.  None of those who voted against it (or even those who missed the roll-call) is on that committee.  Also RLC member Rep. Rich Cebra sits on the Transportation committee.  A unanimous report is unlikely to be challenged in either chamber, it usually is passed “under the hammer”.

       

      Hon. R. Kenneth Lindell

      Chairman, Maine RLC

       


      From: RLC-Action@yahoogroups.com [mailto: RLC-Action@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of ragnarokpress
      Sent: 01/28/2007 5:40 PM
      To: RLC-Action@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [RLC-Action] Re: Maine Becomes First State in Nation to Reject Real ID

       

      Kenneth:

      I'm working on an article about the resolution. Can you tell me what
      role, if any, members of the RLC played in passing the legislation?
      Is the Republican who was the lead sponsor in the House a RLC member
      by any chance?

      Dave


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