OKLAHOMA CITY – After nearly 10 years, Oklahoma is on its way to becoming compliant with the REAL ID Act.
The act was put in place in 2005 to improve the reliability of state issued ID’s, making it harder for terrorists to obtain fake IDs.
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.
In January, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Oklahoma had received an extension through June 6, 2017 to meet the requirements in the REAL ID Act.
But, the department warned, if the state failed to act during the 2017 legislative session on legislation committing Oklahoma to all the REAL ID requirements, the state could be denied for other extension requests.
Without the extension, federal agencies would have been prohibited from accepting Oklahoma driver’s licenses as proper identification cards.
Beginning on Jan. 22, 2018, a driver’s license or state ID from a state that is not compliant with the REAL ID Act will not be accepted to board a commercial aircraft within the United States.
The measure also allows individuals to opt to retain their noncompliant licenses or identification cards.
The bill quickly made its way through the Oklahoma House and the Oklahoma Senate.
On Thursday, Gov. Mary Fallin signed the REAL ID compliance bill.
“Our citizens let us know they wanted action on this legislation so they wouldn’t be burdened with the cost and hassle of providing additional identification to gain entrance to federal buildings, military bases or federal courthouse. And they most certainly didn’t want to have to pay for additional identification, such as a passport, in order to board a commercial airliner beginning in January. The people spoke and our legislators listened. And I’m pleased to sign House Bill 1845 into law,” Fallin said.
On Thursday afternoon, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety announced that it will begin the process of implementing the new changes.
Oklahoma was given an extension until June of 2017 to become compliant, but the agency says there is no way the state will be ready.
In fact, the department says it will likely take between 24 and 30 months to become fully compliant, meaning the state would need several other extensions.
The new license will include an indicator that it is REAL ID compliant. However, non-compliant cards will indicate that they are not to be used for federal purposes.
“We deeply appreciate the Governor’s office and the leadership in the House and Senate for making this law a reality for Oklahoma, and we look forward to implementing REAL ID,” said DPS Commissioner Michael C. Thompson.