- Associated Press - Friday, January 6, 2017

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Democratic and Republican lawmakers are planning to pass legislation in Oklahoma to comply with a federal law involving identification cards.

Two Democratic senators - John Sparks of Norman and Kay Floyd of Oklahoma City - announced legislation in November to comply with the REAL ID Act. President George W. Bush signed the act into law as an anti-terrorism measure in 2005, the Tulsa World (https://bit.ly/2iMthgQ ) reported.

Republican Rep. Jon Echols, the House majority flood leader, said he expects similar legislation to pass the House within the first month of the session, which begins Feb. 6.

A 2007 Oklahoma law prevents the state from fully implementing REAL ID, which involves adding security features to state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.

Opponents believe it’s an invasion of privacy to allow federal government to establish a database to monitor citizens. Opponents are also worried the new IDs will be used to collect biometric data, including the required photographs that help with facial-recognition software.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security denied those claims on its website, saying “REAL ID does not build a national database nor does it grant the Federal Government or another state access to a state’s driver’s license data. REAL ID is not a national identification card.”

Sparks said he thought last session’s bills didn’t pass because some lawmakers were “pandering” to conspiracy theorists. Echols said he’s confident legislators will be more open to compromise this time.

Homeland Security granted Oklahoma another extension to use noncompliant state-issued IDs at federal agencies through June 6, adding that Oklahoma IDs cannot be used to board a commercial aircraft if they aren’t compliant by January 2018.

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Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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