Deadline Passes With No REAL ID Extension
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security still hasn’t granted an extension for Kentucky to comply with stricter driver’s license and ID standards. The previous extension expired Monday.
Transportation cabinet officials had requested the extension last month but still haven’t heard back from DHS.
“It’s kind of hard to assume what the federal government’s going to do,” Transportation Cabinet spokesman Ryan Watts said. “We’re hopeful they’re going to grant us an extension, we just can’t predict how they’re going to act on our letter.”
Watts notes that the extension hasn’t been officially denied and could be granted after the federal Columbus Day holiday. Kentucky is still listed as having an extension on the DHS website.
Signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2005, the REAL ID Act requires Kentucky to centralize the issuance of driver’s licenses to the state Transportation Cabinet instead of circuit clerks’ offices and verify applications through a federal government database.
Kentucky is one of 29 states that is not compliant with REAL ID standards.
The immediate impact is minor — Kentuckians will no longer be able to get into the Homeland Security national headquarters in Washington D.C. using a driver’s license; they’ll have to bring a passport instead.
If an extension isn’t granted by Jan. 7, 2017, Kentucky driver licenses and identification won’t be accepted at some federal facilities like military bases and nuclear power plants.
And on Jan. 22, 2018, Kentuckians wouldn’t be able to board commercial airplanes without a passport.
During this year’s legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill that would have brought Kentucky into compliance with REAL ID standards. Gov. Matt Bevin vetoed the measure, citing “tremendous opposition and misunderstanding” of the issue.
Tea Party and civil liberties groups have both opposed the REAL ID initiative, calling it an overreach of federal power and threat to personal privacy.
The issue will likely come up during this year’s short legislative session, which begins in January.
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