With the clock ticking, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a REAL ID Act Thursday. Without it, Oklahoman’s would have had to get passports to fly and enter military bases.
Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act is designed to make drivers licenses more secure.
Oklahoma is one of several states to resist, claiming the act is federal government over reach. But after a series of extensions, the state House of Representatives voted to comply with the requirements.
“We were told there would be no further extensions,” said Representative Leslie Osborn (R) District 47. “So if we don’t comply January 1 of ’18, no Oklahoman will be able to fly without a real id or passport.”
But passage of the bill didn’t come easy.
“Now it is an unfunded mandate upon states that do not comply for three first three years, correct?” asked Representative Tommy Hardin (R) District 49.
Osborn replied, “If we want our citizens to be able to fly on commercial flights a year from now, if we want them to be able to go into federal courthouses and military bases, it’s a requirement and yes it’s not necessarily paid for by the state of Oklahoma, but by our citizens.”
If the bill becomes law, Oklahomans will have to pay an additional five dollars for a REAL ID compliant license.
“Whether we want to call that a tax or a fee or a necessary documentation. But at this point I have a passport if I want to fly outside of the united states I guess I could call it a tax or I could call it a fee for service for something I would like to do,” said Osborn.
Hardin replied, “So because of the actions of our federal government, we can’t keep people from coming into our country, but we can deny our own people access to that airplane.”
The bill now goes to the state Senate.