The state Senate reluctantly passed a bill that would allow Oklahoma to comply with the federal Real ID Act.
The federal law requires people to have more documentation to get a Real ID compliant license.
With that license, they can fly commercially and enter federal buildings. Without it, they would need a passport.
Lawmakers passed the bill even with a lot of unanswered questions.
“How much is it going to cost each year to operate this new system? We have no idea how much that is,” asked Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-District 44. “The simple question of how much do we pay currently for the current system that we have.”
Majority Whip Sen. Nathan Dahm had concerns about information sharing.
“They will still have their biometric data not only collected but under the real id act it will be shared with other states and potentially other foreign governments,” he said.
Senators were also concerned about the $5 additional fee Oklahomans will be charged for the license being used as an endless revenue stream.
“There will be tens of thousands of Oklahomans that will have to reach into their pockets and pay additional dollars for supposedly meeting this issue,” said Sen. Marty Quinn, R-District 2. “But the real issue here is they took Real ID and they made it into a revenue issue.”
Backers say this isn’t about the money; it’s about safety.
“We live in a world today that’s dangerous. We live in a world that’s becoming more dangerous as we speak,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz. “If Real ID ultimately, at the end of the day, prevents one of those people from entering the country and detonating a device that harms our citizens or harms our property then we’ve done our job.”
The bill now goes to the governor’s office.
She released the following statement:
I’m pleased to see the Legislature work so quickly on this important issue. We cannot burden Oklahomans with the additional cost and hassle of providing identification to gain entrance to federal buildings, military bases or federal courthouses. And most certainly we can’t let them down by forcing them to have additional identification in order to board a commercial airliner in January. I look forward to receiving this bill on my desk.