Having worked at one time for the Gila County Sheriff's Office, I know of the need for ways and means of identifying people and things -- not just from Arizona, but also from elsewhere. It appears that the Arizona Legislature has lost sight of that need and is nay-saying efforts by the federal government to come up with a workable ID.
The Arizona Criminal Justice Information System (ACJIS) is used extensively to discover whether there is a warrant for someone, whether a person has a criminal record -- and, if so, what it might be, and whether a person's driver's license is valid or suspended.
The system can also determine if a vehicle is licensed in Arizona, whether its registration is current, who owns it and whether it might be stolen. ACJIS is Arizona's ID system and database. There have been problems, but they were worked out -- remember when a person's Social Security number was required as the driver's license number? Public and commercial access to that data is restricted by the Freedom of Information Act.
The law enforcement and courts systems access ACJIS and systems like it nationwide. It's not hard to understand that we already have a national database in place. Fingerprints and Social Security numbers have been the baseline for ages. But other methods are coming into use. Maricopa County Sheriff's Office augments fingerprinting with eye-scanning, a relatively recent means of positive ID.
Social Security was never envisioned as a means of personal ID, but rather as a means of identifying a national accounting of FW, SW and FICA monies deposited with government agencies.
Since most people worry about having their identity stolen through misuse of a National ID Card, why not create one that would act as a National Driver's License (similar to the CDL), photo and eye-print ID (using the data strip). Forget fingerprints, Social Security numbers, birth certificates and citizenship papers, except as original documentation to prove the ID of legitimate U.S. citizens who request a national ID card.
Our legislature should be creating resolutions with positive suggestions directed at those working hard to formulate a workable, secure National ID system.
Ted Thayer, Globe