Missouri and the REAL ID program
Missouri residents won’t need a passport to board a domestic flight this fall. They will still be able to use their driver’s license.
The state’s extension to comply with the federal Real ID law expires Oct. 10, and the state hasn’t yet heard if it will get another.
But even if it doesn’t get the extension, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official said in an email Thursday that Missouri residents would get a grace period ending Jan. 22. After that, they could have to bring their passport or other government-issued ID, including a passport card, enhanced driver’s license, military ID or permanent resident card.
Real ID puts in place a stricter set of standards for issuing drivers’ licenses in an effort to prevent terrorism and tamp down fraud. The law goes into effect Oct. 1, 2020, but states that aren’t in compliance can be subject to enforcement early.
Anne Marie Moy, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Revenue, said the state fully expects to get another extension and come into compliance in March. At that time, it will start issuing Real ID-compliant drivers’ licenses. Anyone who wants to enter a federal facility or nuclear power plant or board a commercial flight would then need that ID by October 2020.
DHS said it’s still reviewing state extension requests.
Moy said most of the work the state still has to complete revolves around putting computer systems into place.
“At this point ... we have cleared the majority of the hurdles,” Moy said.
Kansas has been in compliance with the federal law and issuing Real ID cards since last year, but residents aren’t required to have them to fly until 2020.
Real IDs won’t be required to drive, register to vote, vote, apply for federal benefits or participate in other government proceedings.
Congress passed Real ID in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Missouri’s state lawmakers had resisted the federal mandate over privacy concerns. Some took issue with Real ID’s requirement that states scan and retain copies of drivers’ identification documents, such as birth certificates and Social Security cards.
Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, said in June it was “unbelievable” the country was adopting Real ID given the threat of cybersecurity breaches.
Others have raised concerns about a national database of drivers’ information. One of the frequently asked questions on the DHS website asks whether the federal government is building a national database of drivers’ information.
“No,” the website says. “Real ID is a national set of standards, not a national identification card. Real ID does not create a federal database of driver license information.”
Missouri lawmakers had barred the state from complying with Real ID over those privacy concerns. Last year, the legislature lifted the ban and passed a law allowing residents to get Real ID-compliant licenses if they want them or opt out.