Real Progress Needed on REAL ID

By Rep. Mike Sanders

I received an email from a constituent recently asking if she could still use her Oklahoma driver’s license to fly commercially. I thought it was a question that others might like to see the answer to as well.

Here’s our status: We are in compliance via an extension from the federal government through Oct. 10. This means the federal government will continue to recognize Oklahoma’s driver license and ID cards until that date. Oklahomans also can gain access to federal buildings and military installations using these documents until that date.

Gov. Stitt, meanwhile, has submitted the required letter of request for an additional extension to become compliant fully by October of 2020, and it looks as if the Department of Homeland Security is working closely with Oklahoma to review that request.

On Aug. 5, the Department of Homeland Security issued the following statement about the few remaining states out of compliance, including Oklahoma:

“The majority of states have already been determined to be fully compliant by DHS, and all the remaining states have committed to becoming compliant by October 2020,” said DHS spokesperson McLaurine Klingler. “The remaining noncompliant states are working closely with DHS to share their plans and schedules for implementing the Act. All the states granted extensions to the compliance deadline by DHS are participating in periodic program reviews with DHS and are making timely progress towards meeting the REAL ID requirements.”

I wish I could tell you that the 2020 extension had been officially granted, but we are still waiting. In the meantime, it might be wise if traveling after Oct. 10 to carry alternative forms of identification. A list of alternative identification documents accepted by the Transportation Security Administration can be found here:https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification.

REAL ID stems back to 2005, when the U.S. Congress approved the measure as a response to 9/11. The Act was intended to make it more difficult for criminals to falsify identification cards. But many states, including Oklahoma, rejected the Act, after many citizens voiced concerns about government overreach, potential privacy violations and compliance costs.

Oklahoma lawmakers in 2017 voted to comply with the Act, but work to implement the change by state agencies has been slow to say the least. Partly because of this, Gov. Stitt recently made changes to leadership at the Department of Public Safety, as the Legislature granted him the ability to do in the last legislative session. He’s promised that we are now getting the right people and the right software in place to move more quickly towards compliance with REAL ID.

Gov. Stitt recently met with Department of Homeland Security executives in Washington, D.C. to assure them of the state’s progress. He said the state is expected to beta test our version of the ID in April and will be compliant by October 2020. If we’re granted an extension, I will let you know.

In the meantime, if I can help you in any way, I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 or mike.sanders@okhouse.gov.


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