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Officials: It Could Take Years To Make OK Driver's Licenses REAL ID Compliant

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

Soon, your Oklahoma driver's license will no longer get you onto a military base or into some federal buildings and it may take years to make them REAL ID compliant.

The federal government denied the state's request for an extension because the state didn't show any progress in becoming REAL ID complaint. 

“DHS did something different this year,” said Andrew Meehan, the policy director with Keeping Identity Safe, a Washington D.C., nonprofit that has been following the REAL ID issue carefully. “You had to commit to meeting the Real ID Standards…(and) you had to show us that you had done something to comply with the standards” 

State Sen. David Holt’s proposal during last year’s legislative session passed the Senate but didn’t make it out of the House.  

Lawmakers will go back in session in February. Some lawmakers have already pledged to make the state’s drivers' licenses compliant.

When or if the legislature gives the go ahead, it will be up to the state Department of Public Safety to issue compliant drivers' licenses.  

State DPS Commissioner Michael Thompson said Oklahoma drivers' licenses are secure. Making Oklahoma licenses REAL ID compliant has to deal mostly with procedures in issuing the license.

“If for example you bring in a social security card, Real ID requires that the DMV calls Social Security and says ‘Is this a valid record?'" explained Meehan. 

Also, the state needs to explain to the government overt, covert, and forensic security features on the card. DMV workers who have access to personal information have to undergo background checks, and the attorney general has to certify the process is safe for the privacy of residents.

“So it’s not as if once legislation is enacted, the state can turn around quite quickly and just start issuing credentials,” said Meehan. 

Thompson said his agency has a plan but it will take about two years to get everything up and running at a cost of $11 million to $12 million. Thompson said residents would have to go to DPS to get their information verified but could still get your actual license at a tag agency. They may try to use National Guard facilities across the state to accommodate all the people. 

Thompson said if the legislators give the OK for his agency to start becoming REAL ID complaint, the state can ask for another extension and may get it this time. 

Here’s more information from the Department of Homeland Security: 

Oklahoma remains noncompliant and has not been granted a renewed extension and will be subject to REAL ID enforcement for phases 1-3 following a short grace period. Starting January 30, 2017, federal agencies and nuclear power plants may not accept for official purposes driver’s licenses and state IDs from a noncompliant state/territory without an extension.

Background:

January 22, 2018 marks the beginning of enforcement for Phase 4, which impacts air travel. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will continue to accept all state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards through January 21, 2018.  Beginning January 22, 2018, TSA will only accept licenses and identification cards issued by compliant states or noncompliant states with an extension.  

The following enforcement measures are cumulative, with measures in each phase remaining in effect through successive phases. Each phase will begin with a 3-month period where agencies will provide notice to individuals attempting to use driver’s licenses or identification cards from noncompliant states but still allow access. After this period is over, agencies will no longer accept such identification for entry to Federal facilities, and individuals will need to follow the agency’s alternate procedures (to be made available by the agency).

•    Phase 1: Restricted areas (i.e., areas accessible by agency personnel, contractors, and their guests) for DHS’s Nebraska Avenue Complex (NAC) headquarters.
•    Phase 2: Restricted areas for all Federal facilities and nuclear power plants.
•    Phase 3: Semi-restricted areas (i.e., areas available to the general public but subject to ID-based access control) for most Federal facilities (subject to limitations described in the next section). Access to Federal facilities will continue to be allowed for purposes of applying for or receiving Federal benefits.
•    Phase 4: Boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft

The governor has no plans at this time call a special session for the REAL ID Act compliance issue. 

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