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State lawmakers propose ignoring Real ID unless Congress funds it

State officials will find out next week what the federal Real ID law will mean for Wisconsinites and how much it will cost the state.

The law requires more secure driver's licenses with more information encrypted. And folks will have to prove their U.S. residency to get them.

Starting in 2014, individuals younger than 50 will have to obtain the new licenses or else they cannot board airplanes or go into federal buildings.

That means 800,000 Wisconsinites will have to renew their licenses early.

The Real ID Law is the brainchild of U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who says it's needed to stop terrorism.

He chaired the Judiciary Committee when he rammed it through a Republican Congress a couple years ago.

But even folks in Sensenbrenner's own party now have second thoughts.

Rep. Jeff Wood, Chippewa Falls, says the licenses will give more bureaucrats access to your personal data thus increasing your risk of identity theft.

Wood and Rep. Louis Molepske, D-Stevens Point, have proposed a bill to ignore the Real ID law unless Congress pays for it and licenses are protected.

That might force Wisconsinites to get passports to board airplanes. And that's why their colleagues have shied away from the bill.