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Blaine's Bulletin: Missouri Real ID Updates

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Washington, September 21, 2018 | comments

It’s a simple request from the TSA agent standing at airport security, “boarding pass and ID please.” Whether you travel weekly for business or save up all year to take a nice family vacation, the ability to travel around the country with only a driver’s license is a freedom that many Americans take for granted. That being said, what would you do if your Missouri-issued identification was not accepted at American airports? For many Missourians this question is all too real.

In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, we learned that some of the hijackers used fraudulent state-issued identification to board those ill-fated flights. The Real ID Act, passed in 2005, created a national standard for state driver’s licenses and other identification documents. In short, State issued identifications would have to meet certain standards in order to be accepted by the federal government. This would affect anyone entering a government building, military installation or boarding an aircraft. Unfortunately, Missouri’s IDs are still not compliant with this law.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has set an October 10, 2018 deadline for Missouri to fully comply with REAL ID or risk Missouri IDs becoming noncompliant with federal government standards. In June of 2017, the Missouri state legislature passed a bill to allow Missouri to fully comply with the Real ID Act and fully align Missouri’s state law with the federal standard. Since then, the Missouri Department of Revenue (MODOR) has been working diligently to transition our state to the Real ID system as quickly as possible. However, MODOR has stated they will not be able to complete the transition before the October 10th deadline. Clearly something must be done to protect the travel rights of Missourians.

I recently sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in support of a request by MODOR to extend the deadline for Missouri until October 2019.  This extension will allow MODOR to complete the transition without subjecting Missourians to the burdens of not having Real ID compliant identification. Without this extension, people in Missouri’s Third District and across the state will face the inability to travel outside of Missouri and could incur significant economic losses.

My office has been in constant contact with DHS to ensure they will grant this extension. In the meantime, DHS has stated any state that is deemed not in compliance with the law will receive a grace period until at least January 22, 2019, ensuring the rights of Missourians to travel through the holiday season. DHS has a goal of completing its review of MODOR’s request by the end of this month, and I am hopeful that we will be able to secure an additional extension through 2019, protecting Missourians from the hindrance of noncompliance with the Real ID Act.

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2230 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515 (202) 225-2956 tel (202) 225-5712 fax
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2117 Missouri Boulevard Jefferson City, Mo., 65109 (573) 635-7232 tel (573) 635-8347 fax
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113 East Pearce Boulevard Wentzville, Mo., 63385 (636) 327-7055 tel
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516 Jefferson St. Washington, MO 63090 (636) 239-2276 tel
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