Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed a bill on Friday that would have blocked Minnesota's participation in a federal program setting nationwide standards for state identification cards.
But on Saturday, he issued an executive order that would prevent full state compliance with the federal Real ID program before June 1, 2009, unless the Legislature approves.
Combined, the moves appear to be an attempt at compromise over an issue that has united liberal and conservative legislators in opposition to what critics call a national identification system and a threat to privacy and civil liberties.
A bill prohibiting Minnesota's compliance with the Real ID requirement passed last week by overwhelming veto-proof margins in both the House and the Senate.
Real ID emerged from the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission as an effort to prevent falsification of identities by terrorists or other criminals.
Opponents of the ban on state compliance argued the measure would also prevent Minnesota from moving on its own accord to improve the security of state identification documents. Advocates insisted the state could continue to act so long as it did not agree to share information with a federal system or otherwise conform to federal directives. They also have objected that the required conversion is an unfunded mandate.
Pawlenty said his veto and executive order would together address both the concerns of Real ID critics and the need for the state to enhance security.
"Throughout the debate over Real ID, I've made it clear I share many of the concerns raised regarding federal funding, privacy, state control and other issues," Pawlenty said in a statement. "Opponents have also raised important constitutional questions that should be considered.
The executive order, he added, "will give us an opportunity to work with our federal partners and state legislators to resolve the valid concerns regarding this program."