- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - People with driver’s licenses from Kentucky and nine other states will have to show a passport or some other form of federal identification by 2016 to comply with a law tightening security across the country.

Under the REAL ID Act of 2005, tougher identification standards will go into effect for “restricted areas” in “all federal facilities,” and for nuclear power plants. In January, the rules will apply to “semi-restricted” areas of federal facilities, with the air travel mandate scheduled to go into effect “no sooner than 2016.”

Exceptions will be made for certain types of federal facilities, including those involving “activities directly related to safety, health, life preserving services, law enforcement and constitutionally protected activities,” according to the DHS website. The law is also not intended to interfere with applying for or receiving federal benefits.

Still, it was unclear just what specific facilities or buildings in Kentucky, if any, would reject the state’s driver’s licenses. That’s 145 different offices across the state.

The law requires a driver’s license to be issued by a single state agency. In Kentucky, the clerk of court handles the issuance.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokeswoman Lisa Tolliver told The Courier-Journal (https://cjky.it/1jJuVhl) the state has been trying to comply with the law.

“We have been working to get into compliance,” Tolliver said. “We will have to be fully compliant by 2016.”

The REAL ID Act was based on recommendations from the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission. But some states complained that the requirements were too costly, and others objected because of privacy concerns.

Tolliver said state officials have been grappling with a list of requirements, including how information from documents like birth certificates and Social Security cards is collected and stored, the technical features and appearances of driver’s licenses, and security standards at locations where driver’s licenses are issued.

Besides Kentucky, the other states that the federal government says have not adequately changed their licenses are Alaska, Arizona, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma and Washington.

The American Civil Liberties Union opposed the requirements, fearing too much personal information will be collected and shared among the states and federal government along with concerns about adequately protecting it from security breaches.

“There were a lot of concerns that it would become a national identification card,” said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel ACLU.

Max Bluestein, director of research at Keeping IDentities Safe, a Washington-based nonprofit advocating for more secure licenses and IDs, said his group has been warning the states that unless they complied with the new rules, their residents would be facing problems.

“The regulations set forth in the REAL ID Act are all quite achievable and the federal government has made funds available to do so,” he said in an -mail. “It’s largely been misconceptions and misinformation that has kept states behind, via their legislatures.”

But Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials said they were not aware of any political controversies or budget constraints had delayed the state’s compliance.

“There’s been no foot dragging,” said Transportation Cabinet Chuck Wolfe said.

Wolfe said Kentucky may decide to centralize the process for people who want the federally compliant driver’s license, while offering non-standardized licenses to those who do not. “You could have regional offices, or have the paperwork handled back here in Frankfort, and your license gets mailed to you,” he said.

He said those decisions have not been made.


Information from: The Courier-Journal, https://www.courier-journal.com

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide