Feds will no longer accept Missouri driver’s licenses - KCTV5 News

Feds will no longer accept Missouri driver’s licenses

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Starting next month, Missouri driver’s licenses will no longer be an acceptable form of identification to the federal government, and the consequences could be enormous for the state’s residents.

Missouri residents will no longer be able to use their driver’s licenses to enter federal facilities and may not be able to use them to board commercial flights.

It’s because Missouri is not in compliance with a federal law, known as the REAL ID Act, which requires states to adopt tougher security standards when issuing state identification cards.

For instance, states must require applicants to provide proof of identity, such as a birth certificate, proof of residency, and social security number before issuing an ID card.

States are also required to maintain a driver’s license database, that is accessible to officials in other states. The database must include all information printed on each driver’s license or ID card, including photographs.

The law, created in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2005.

While proponents believe it enhances security, opponents believe the law represents a federal overreach.

Lawmakers in some states, including Missouri, have refused to comply with it.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for enforcing the law, issued exemptions to those states, to give them more time to implement it.

Several years later, federal authorities appear to be running out of patience.

The federal government recently denied a request to give Illinois and Minnesota more time to comply when their exemptions expire.

This week, federal officials sent a letter to the state of Missouri, reminding it that its exemption will expire on Jan. 10.

Missouri officials have not said whether the state will seek another exemption.

When the current exemption expires, and if another is not granted, Missouri residents will not be able to use state-issued ID cards to get into federal facilities that require IDs, including military bases.

Federal authorities may also enforce a section of the law that would not allow residents in non-compliant states to use state-issued ID cards to board commercial flights.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said TSA will continue to accept all driver's licenses, including Missouri, but at some point they may start enforcing the REAL ID requirements.

The department said it would provide at least 120-day advance notice before barring people from flights who are trying to board with ID cards issued by non-compliant states, like Missouri.

Passengers at Kansas City International Airport said over the Christmas holiday that having to forego a driver's license for a passport when traveling domestically would be a hassle.

"I keep mine in a safe," said Joel Kukalski. "The more I break it out, the more chances I'm going to lose it."

Others said they fear their passport has expired.

"Those aren't cheap and they take a while to get them," said Sabrina Daniels.

Others had privacy concerns and what the federal government will do with the information it has gathered.

But some KCI travelers say there is real concern about national security and, for that matter, Big Brother is already watching in other ways.

"The greater good would outweigh that piece of privacy," said Tory Wittmack, "because all of our privacy has already pretty much been given away."

"I think it's good that they're standing their ground. However, it is quite an inconvenience for travelers," said Daniels. "I think that inevitably, if the information is wanted by the federal government or any other state, they're going to get it, so I don't know how much longer you can dig your heels in."

There are a few key exceptions to REAL ID. You won't need a federally compliant ID to participate in legal proceedings at federal court or to get into places like the post office or the Smithsonian that don't currently require ID to get in. You also will not need a compliant version of ID to vote, register to vote,or receive federal benefits.

Kansas is in compliance with REAL ID so its residents will not have to carry a passport regularly.

The full statement from Homeland Security is below:

"The Department of Homeland Security is working with state officials to ensure their compliance with REAL ID Act standards and to grant a state an extension where warranted. Missouri has not yet provided adequate justification to receive an extension on compliance with the requirements of the REAL ID Act passed by Congress in 2005. As of October 10, 2015, federal agencies may only accept driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by states that are compliant with the REAL ID Act or have an extension for accessing most federal facilities (including military bases) and entering nuclear power plants. Starting on January 10, 2016, driver's licenses and identification cards issued by Missouri will not be accepted for these purposes. Missouri residents visiting a federal facility can provide another form of identification or follow procedures that the facility allows for persons without acceptable identification."

"Missouri can request an extension at any time if there are new developments or additional relevant information regarding the steps they are taking to comply with the REAL ID Act requirements."

"The Transportation Security Administration continues to accept all state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, including those from Missouri.  DHS is in the process of scheduling plans for REAL ID enforcement at airports and will ensure that the traveling public has ample notice, at least 120 days, before any changes are made that might affect their travel. The REAL ID Act places the responsibility for action on the state to provide state-issued identification that meets the Act’s security standards."

Click here for frequently asked questions on REAL ID.

KCTV5's Betsy Webster and DeAnn Smith contributed to this report.

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