by ANDREW ADKINS, THE DAILY INDEPENDENT –
FRANKFORT — A new state law was passed at the most recent legislative session that will place the state in compliance with new federal travel standards by creating a new Travel ID driver’s license in 2019.
If Gov. Matt Bevin hadn’t signed the “REAL ID” bill into law March 21, Kentuckians wouldn’t have been able to use their driver’s licenses as identification at airports for domestic travel, or to enter federal courthouses, Social Security offices or military facilities after January. They instead would’ve needed a passport or birth certificate to gain access.
Bevin vetoed similar legislation last year, but in October the Department of Homeland Security rejected the state’s request to extended the deadline for Kentucky to pass a REAL ID law, after the department had approved extensions in previous years.
The new law guarantees no changes will be made to Kentucky’s driver’s license and identification card system until Jan. 1, 2019, at the earliest to allow for all circuit clerks offices to obtain the proper equipment to issue the new cards.
Until then, Kentucky residents can continue to use their driver’s licenses and ID cards for air travel within the United States and for access to federal government facilities.
When the new Kentucky Voluntary Travel ID driver’s licenses are available, they will cost $48 and be valid for eight years. The new standard driver’s license will cost $43 and also be good for eight years. The current cost of a driver’s license is $20 for four years.
Applicants for the new travel IDs must to present their birth certificate and Social Security card. The personal documents will be scanned into a central record system operated by the state Transportation Department. The database must meet Real ID security standards to protect the private information. Standard driver’s license holders won’t need to present the personal documents for storage in the system.
Critics of the REAL ID law, including some conservative groups and the American Civil Liberties Union, have said it’s invasive to privacy.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 in an attempt to prevent further terrorism and unlawful travel into and out of the country.
But several state governments were reluctant to comply with the law, arguing it infringed on the rights of states and private citizens. Only 25 states and Washington, D.C., were in full compliance with the federal law prior to 2017. Maine, Montana, Missouri and Minnesota were not compliant at all, while the remaining 21 states, including Kentucky, had been granted a deadline extension to comply.
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