Oklahoma senators file legislation to become compliant with Real ID Act

Oklahoma driver's license
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Two Oklahoma senators have filed legislation that they hope will allow Oklahomans to become compliant with a national law.

It’s all part of the Real ID Act, which is a coordinated effort by the states and the federal government to improve the reliability of state issued ID’s.

It’s meant to inhibit terrorists’ ability to get fake ID’s.

However, Oklahoma passed a law in 2007 that said our state wouldn’t comply with the Real ID Act.

Critics said they are concerned about how our information will be stored, but now officials have a new concern.

After several attempts to get the law reversed failed this past legislative session, Oklahomans are now facing a deadline.

In October, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety was notified that the State of Oklahoma’s request for an extension to become compliant with the Real ID Act was denied.

Oklahoma is currently operating under a grace period, which ends Jan. 29, 2017.

Beginning on Jan. 30, 2017, federal agencies are prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards that were issued by non-compliant states for “official purposes.”

In other words, if you do not have a form of identification that complies with the Real ID Act, you will not be allowed to enter a federal building, facility, military base or courthouse.

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.

A handful of state leaders said they were concerned this could happen if the Legislature failed to act in 2016.

“Even if we pass a bill in the 2017 legislative session to address this, we will not have Real ID compliant licenses in the hands of Oklahomans by the time that deadline hits in 2018,” Sen. David Holt said.

A passport or military ID are both considered Real ID compliant and would work to get you on an airplane.

Last legislative session, the Oklahoma House and the Oklahoma Senate both passed bills that would have brought Oklahoma into compliance before the deadline.

However, neither side could agree on the exact wording of the bill, so both ultimately failed.

On Friday, Sen. John Sparks and Sen. Kay Floyd announced that they have filed legislation to resolve the noncompliance issue.

“We hope that the fact that this bill is designated as Senate Bill 1 of the upcoming session will communicate the urgency and gravity of the situation we are facing by remaining non-compliant with the Real ID Act,” said Floyd. “Senate Democratic leadership has had lengthy discussions with the leadership at Tinker AFB and we are surer than ever that we need to resolve this failure as quickly and efficiently as possible. Beginning January 30, our military installations are likely facing disruption to their mission and inconvenience to those who live and work there. We must limit the impending interruption to ‘business as usual’ at our military installations and must solve this problem promptly.”

Even though the Real ID Act was passed in 2005, it hasn’t been fully enforced until now.

While both the House of Representatives and the Senate say they are ready to pass legislation, some are concerned that it may be too little, too late.

In June, DPS Commissioner Michael Thompson said it would likely take Oklahoma at least two years after a bill is passed for the state to actually become compliant.

That would mean that even if they pass a bill that is signed into law during the 2017 legislative session, it could take Oklahoma until 2019 to become compliant.

With the airline regulations set to go into effect in 2018, Oklahomans may need to either delay their travel plans or obtain a passport.

Currently, data obtained by the lawmakers show that around 30 percent of Oklahomans have a passport.

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