- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - After nearly a decade of rebuffing compliance with federal rules, Idaho lawmakers took the first step Tuesday toward enforcing tougher federal ID requirements for those who want access to certain federal buildings and eventually commercial flights.

Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, introduced a measure that would lift Idaho’s 2008 ban on complying with the REAL ID requirements mandated by the federal government.

The proposal received unanimous support in the Idaho House State Affairs Committee with none of the members questioning the measure. Palmer said it will now go to the House Transportation Committee, “where it will have a lively hearing.”

Since Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005, Idaho lawmakers have rejected its tough regulations because they deemed it an unfunded mandate. At the time, the estimated cost to comply was $20 million, plus $5 million a year in ongoing costs.

Instead of working toward complying, lawmakers approved a plan last year that allowed the Idaho Transportation Department to file extension requests to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security along with status reports.

The law also requires the state agency to give annual updates to the Idaho House and Senate transportation committees.

The Department of Homeland Security has granted Idaho compliance extensions since 2014, when the agency started enforcing the law. Idaho’s most recent compliance extension expires in October.

REAL ID is designed to make driver’s licenses less susceptible to forgery by requiring proof of U.S. residency.

The federal law has had several implementation delays, but access to some federal facilities is now restricted without an enhanced ID.

As early as next year, such an ID could be required to board commercial aircraft, though the federal government hasn’t given a firm timeline on access to flights.

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