JEFFERSON CITY — The United States Department of Homeland Security has extended the grace period for Missouri to make the switch to federally-compliant forms of personal identification. State-issued IDs, such as a Missouri driver license, may now be used for federal purposes until Jan. 22, 2019.
In 2005, Congress passed the Real ID Act, enacting new federal standards for state-issued identification cards following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The act was aimed at strengthening national security at airports, military bases and various other federal facilities, but some critics raised privacy concerns over its document retention requirement.
Since then, many states have begun the process of switching to more secure forms of identification. Last year, the Missouri General Assembly approved House Bill 151, later signed into law, making future state licenses automatically compliant with Real ID unless an applicant specifically requests a noncompliant license.
State Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, stood against this measure, which he believes enables federal government overreach into state affairs and presents Missourians with a false choice. He says it’s unlikely the federal government would actually deny Missouri residents the right to board a plane if the state didn’t comply with the Real ID Act. Additionally, he believes HB 151 unfairly makes receiving a federally-compliant license the default option, thereby pushing license applicants into surrendering their personal information to a federal database, which could be hacked or misused.
“National security is important, but it’s even more important to protect our essential liberty as American citizens,” Sen. Eigel said. “Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.’ As a constitutional conservative, I will always fight against federal encroachment upon Missourians’ personal privacy.”
According to the Department of Revenue, Missouri has applied for a full extension, through Oct. 10, 2019, for issuing federally-compliant licenses — a request which may still be granted at a later date. The department says it will not be able to issue compliant identification until March 2019.