Recently there has been a lot of talk inside and outside the Capitol about the concerns of many Missourians when it comes to REAL ID, and the issues that surround it. In 2009, the Missouri Legislature joined 11 other states by passing a law that stated we would not be in compliance with the new federal law – REAL ID – which took effect on Jan. 10, 2017.
When the federal REAL ID Act was passed in 2005, the act required state driver’s licenses to meet certain minimum standards. Some state legislatures were concerned the federal government would use the new policies to keep documents with American citizens’ personal and private information as well as other sensitive identifying information. Therefore, many states chose not to comply with the act, and the Missouri Legislature passed a law banning compliance with the act in 2009.
Due to Missouri’s non-compliance, beginning Jan. 10, 2017, our state-issued licenses were no longer considered a valid form of identification for accessing certain military bases and some federal facilities. Until January 2018, you will be able to enter military bases with a current Missouri license and a second form of identification including U.S. passports, social security cards and certified birth certificates. As it currently stands, Missourians will not be able to fly commercially, enter a federal building or go on a military base without an escort starting January 2018.
Missouri is not the only state dealing with this issue right now. Maine, Minnesota, Montana and Washington have also refused compliance with REAL ID, while 20 other states and five U.S. territories have not made the appropriate changes to their driver’s license or photo ID systems to be in compliance with the REAL ID standards. Those 25 states and territories have until June or October, depending on their extension agreements, to fully implement REAL ID standards.
On March 2nd, I joined many of my colleagues in voting for and passing Senate Resolution 270, which urges Congress to repeal the REAL ID Act of 2005. For this overreach of the federal government to be overturned, it takes an act of Congress. Senate Resolution 270 is an official message from the Missouri Senate to the Congress asking for them to repeal REAL ID.
Senate Bill 37, however, would allow Missouri citizens who want compliant IDs to receive them, and those who do not wish to have such an ID will not be required to. The Department of Revenue would be required to explain the differences between compliant and non-compliant licenses to applicants, making clear that only compliant IDs would be an allowable form of identification to fly or access military bases or federal government facilities as of Jan. 22, 2018.
If Missouri takes no action, and the federal government continues to hold their position on REAL ID through the end of the year, Missourians who wish to fly commercially would need to get a compliant form of identification. The most cost effective form that I am aware of would be a U.S. Passport Card issued by the State Department for $55.
I have already heard from some constituents on this issue, and they each support various positions on what actions the General Assembly should take. Please take a moment and review the REAL ID policies on the Department of Homeland Security’s website, and let me know what avenue Missouri should take regarding compliance with REAL ID.
It is an honor to be your State Senator and my door is always open to your concerns, questions or comments. Please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-2757 or visit my web page at www.senate.mo.gov/riddle.