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State leaders making sure REAL ID extension request has been received

UPDATE: State officials say the US Department of Homeland Security has “acknowledged our request for an extension” on Thursday.

OKLAHOMA CITY – State leaders say they are double-checking to make sure that their request for a REAL ID extension has been received by authorities with the United States Department of Homeland Security.

The REAL ID Act was put in place in 2005 to improve the reliability of state-issued ID’s, making it harder for terrorists to obtain fake identification.

However, Oklahoma passed a law in 2007 that said our state wouldn’t comply with the REAL ID Act, citing concerns about how residents’ information was stored.

Over the last few years, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has given Oklahoma several extensions to meet the requirements in the REAL ID Act.

Without the extensions, federal agencies would have been prohibited from accepting Oklahoma driver’s licenses as proper identification cards.

In 2017, House Bill 1845 was signed into law, which would give Oklahomans the choice of either getting a REAL ID compliant license or keeping their current Oklahoma driver’s license. Even though lawmakers approved the bill, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety said that extensions would still be needed.

Oklahoma is currently one of four states that are not REAL ID compliant.

The Department of Homeland Security has said that all states must be in line with the new system by October 2019. However, state leaders say Oklahoma will not be.

“If we had started this thing two years ago, we wouldn’t be in this boat,” David Ostrowe, secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration, told News 4.

Ostrowe also told KFOR that Gov. Stitt had requested an extension until October 2020, and that the request had been granted.

However, officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told News 4 that the agency has yet to receive an extension request.

“Oklahoma was notified by DHS last month of the extension criteria for approving any extensions beyond the current expiration of October 10, 2019. DHS has not received an extension request from Oklahoma yet but is expecting one soon,” the statement from DHS read.

Ostrowe says that the extension request was signed a week ago at a governor’s conference.

Officials with Gov. Stitt’s office forwarded the extension request to News 4 on Wednesday afternoon.

“Oklahoma continues to actively engage in developing its system to issue REAL ID compliant documents. According to the latest timeline given to the Department of Public Safety by the vendor, the project maintains its progression toward the estimated target date of April 2020 for initial rollout. Additionally, full statewide implementation will be completed by September 2020.

Oklahoma is requesting an additional extension beginning October 2019 to allow citizens to continue to use their existing driver licenses and ID cards to gain access to federal facilities and military installations until our updated system is complete. Oklahoma ensures that we will continue to actively work toward compliance, but we will need additional time to work with our vendor to complete the implementation of the new system,” the letter read.

Officials say that since the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told News 4 they hadn’t received an extension request, they will be following up to make sure that the request is where it needs to be.

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