State Senators Work To Make OK Compliant With REAL ID Act

Wednesday, October 7th 2015, 7:21 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

On Saturday, Oklahoma's exemption from the REAL ID Act will expire. That exemption has allowed Oklahomans to use Oklahoma driver's licenses to get into federal buildings.

A spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin said Wednesday they do not expect an immediate impact if that extension expires in three days.

9/30/2015 Related Story: Deadline Looms To Make Oklahoma IDs Compliant With Federal REAL ID Act

However, state Sen. John Sparks, D-Norman, said sometime soon, we won't be able to use our Oklahoma ID to get into federal buildings and the legislature needs to act now.

“There is no benefit to not repealing this law,” Sparks said. “There is no tangible benefit to Oklahomans with the status quo.”

The status quo, according to Sparks, and federal law, is Oklahomans will not be able to use their state driver’s license to get through security at federal buildings, including the federal courthouse and the social security office, and next year get on a commercial airplane.

“It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when," Sparks said. "We know the federal ID act is going to preclude Oklahomans from gaining access to federal facilities at some point."

That's why Sparks is proposing legislation to repeal a 2007 Oklahoma law that prohibits state agencies from complying with the REAL ID Act.

Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, authored similar legislation last session that passed through the Senate but failed in the House. 

“A lot of them that are opposed to the real ID (are because of) the privacy issues, the religious issues,” Dahm said.

Other members of the Senate say those religious objections relate to the Book of Revelation in the Bible and the fear of Satan being able to identify believers and non-believers.

Still Dahm said he too will work this session to find a solution that would make Oklahoma compliant.

The Legislature does not go back into session until February and Fallin's spokesman said she is not considering a special session to deal with this issue.