With Louisiana now facing the consequences of one of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s most inane decisions, we are glad that the the U.S. government will cut us a break. Otherwise, our driver’s licenses — the most common form of identification — would not be allowed for airline travel or access to federal installations, such as the courthouses in every major city.
The governor is personally to blame for this debacle, having vetoed compromise bills from the Legislature that would have allowed people to get Louisiana licenses that meet new federal standards. We are one of only a handful of states holding out, and we wonder when the patience of the government will be exhausted by Jindal’s relentless pandering to hard-right groups.
The so-called Real ID sought by the U.S. government has raised the hackles of those who believe the government is an elaborate conspiracy against them. Either “they” in Washington are stealing personal data via Real ID or confiscating shotguns from hunters or giving away national assets to China or Russia or whomever — right up to commissioning black helicopters to swoop in on honest citizen-victims.
It’s a dark fantasia, but several years ago, the Legislature yielded to the agitation by passing a law to block the state’s compliance with the Real ID requirements — although, as it turned out, most of what Real ID requires was basically already done in the ordinary course of enrolling people with driver’s licenses.
Because of that 2010 law and a looming federal deadline, the Legislature had to act, and the compromise bills would have allowed people who want to opt out of Real ID to get a noncompliant license and those who want to go somewhere on an airplane to get the practical license.
Jindal vetoes have blocked that route, based on “state sovereignty” concerns. This is just ridiculous.
The Louisiana delegation in Congress — all but one are Republicans — have now been reduced to pleading with the government to give us another extension. Jindal is term-limited and won’t be in office next year. We also note that the delegation members don’t cite the foolishness of the governor’s decisions in their letters.
The next governor ought to line up with the other states and approve a license based on the new federal standards. It’s just absurd that anti-government propaganda is taken at face value by Jindal, who surely knows better. But it’s worse that ordinary folks are inconvenienced by political pandering from the Governor’s Mansion.