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Senate committee passes plan to bring Oklahoma driver’s licenses up to federal standards

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OKLAHOMA - Going into a federal government building or boarding a plane could get tough if the state doesn’t get on board with the Real ID Act.

And, the clock is ticking.

The federal government is giving us until January 2018 to figure this out.

A bill that would get us in compliance is now headed to the senate floor.

Some state leaders said this bill has to pass this session in order to have time to roll out these new ID cards.

If you haven’t heard of the Real ID law, congress passed it after 9/11 to increase security standards.

But, two years later, Oklahoma lawmakers passed a state law rejecting to comply with the federal government.

“That didn’t seem like a big deal, I guess, at the time because the deadlines were so far out," said Sen. David Holt. "Maybe we thought the federal government would change its mind. Maybe we thought things would evolve.”

Holt said we have to do something soon.

Our state has gotten extensions to get in compliance, but those are going to stop.

In January 2018, you will no longer be able to use your Oklahoma driver’s license to get on an airplane, enter a federal building or a military base.

Holt’s bill would give Oklahomans the option to get a Real ID compliant driver’s license or stay with a non-compliant one.

“I always say it’s grandma who wants to see her grandkids. She doesn’t have a passport, but she does fly. She flies twice a year, and we’ve got to be able as a state to have the competence to offer her an ID that can allow her to fly,” Holt said.

With a Real ID system, your personal information – birth certificate, social security number, digital picture and fingerprint – are all kept in a national database.

That has Representative Lewis Moore skeptical.

“Who has gotten hacked here recently? The IRS has gotten hacked. Homeland Security has gotten hacked. There's almost no place that's safe. One of the places that has been pretty safe has been agencies in the state of Oklahoma,” Moore said.

There’s also the cost of Real ID from buying equipment to hiring people.

“We have to have individuals who are specifically trained to process those documents in order to verify you are who you say you are,” said DPS Commissioner Michael Thompson.

Thompson said, even if the bill passes, DPS probably wouldn’t have the ability to start making the IDs until 2018.

It’s also not cheap.

It’ll cost about $13 million.

The bill will be put on the senate floor calendar within the next two weeks.