Senate approves REAL ID legislation


Staff Report



FRANKFORT — The Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would bring Kentucky’s state ID program into compliance with a federal standard that has a fast-approaching deadline. Senate Bill 245, passed by a 26-12 vote, would make REAL ID-compliant state-issued identification available to Kentuckians.

REAL ID is a federal program adopted in 2005 that would come close to establishing a national proof-of-identity program. The Homeland Security program set minimum standards for new, voluntary “enhanced” photo ID cards to include more personal information and anti-counterfeit facets. Participating states are also required to store photos and information, where it could be accessed by law enforcement or other governmental agencies with the proper authorization.

So far, only 23 states have complied with the act, and enforcement has been delayed. Kentucky is one of 27 states to receive an extension as it works to gain compliance.

Initially, the security provisions of REAL ID were to take effect in January. Though access to high-security facilities like military bases and nuclear power plants has already been limited to those without the new ID, other restrictions are still a few years away.

By 2018, flyers from states that are not REAL ID compliant nor have an extension – or those individuals who do not choose to obtain an enhanced ID – will need a second form of identification to fly domestically. By 2020, all flyers will require enhanced identification.

Sponsor Sen. Ernie Harris, R-Crestwood, reviewed the provisions of SB 245, though he said he felt it was hardly needed for a bill that was so well-hashed.

“This is a bill that’s been out there. It’s been discussed for a while,” he said.

Aside from adding the new IDs, SB 245 would also set new procedures for issuing licenses, reaffirming the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet as the issuing body, and would change renewal periods. Kentuckians would only have to renew their licenses every eight years, instead of the current four-year requirement.

Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, lodged one of the votes against SB 245, calling it “a reach.”

“It’s not exactly protecting my security,” she said, but the federal requirement of enhanced IDs “certainly will adversely affect my right to travel, so I vote no.”

The bill is now on its way for consideration in the House.

Staff Report

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