OKLAHOMA – It’s crisis time for the Oklahoma Real ID issue.
The Department of Homeland Security is giving our state lawmakers until June to come up with a plan to become compliant, or your Oklahoma driver’s license won’t let you into federal buildings, onto military bases or commercial aircraft.
Your Oklahoma driver’s license will not let you on an airplane after January next year.
“I think we, as a state government, owe our citizens the ability to fly using an Oklahoma driver’s license. I think that’s minimum competency on our part,” said Sen. David Holt.
Holt has tried to push a plan through the legislature the past two years to get into compliance with the Department of Homeland Security.
So far, those efforts have failed.
“I understand the resistance to federal overreach, but there’s also just some practical elements here. We’re not going to be able to fly,” Holt said.
Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 to make driver’s licenses harder to forge.
But, two years later, Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill to ban the state from complying with Real ID.
Governor Fallin and leaders at the capitol sent letters to the Department of Homeland Security asking for one more extension.
They promised a “quick resolution” during session this year.
The feds granted it but said this is our last chance.
“A lot of people don’t have passports, and it’ll be rather cumbersome. We need to get our licenses up to date and get in compliance,” said resident Linda Huggard.
So, how much is all of this going to cost?
Because Oklahoma has waited so long to comply with Real ID, we’ve missed out on every federal grant that would have paid for the equipment.
Lawmakers expect this will cost millions at a time when our state is facing nearly a billion dollar budget shortfall.
“In the long term, it will be a higher fee on driver’s licenses. There’s an added cost. There’s no question about that, and I think we have to be candid about that,” Holt said.
Leaders in the House and Senate both tell NewsChannel 4 the plan this year will likely be one that allows Oklahomans to choose between a Real ID compliant license and one that is not.