Ky. should quit dragging feet on Real ID 

Published 2:58 pm Monday, January 23, 2017

Kentuckians can still use their drivers’ licenses to enter certain federal buildings until at least June 6 after the U.S. government granted the state more time to comply with the federal “Real ID” law.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the Real ID Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.

After more than decade, the Kentucky legislature has still neglected to comply with the federal law that was passed as an anti-terrorism measure meant to keep people from obtaining false driver’s licenses.

Kentucky has been granted numerous extensions to comply with the law. The most recent extension was granted Thursday.

By neglecting to come to a decision about the law, lawmakers are burdening their constituents. Without compliance, Kentuckians could lose the ability to use their driver’s licenses to do things like board a domestic flight plane, enter a military base or even enter some courthouses. Kentuckians would then be required to show some other form of legally-documented identification, like a birth certificate, passport or residency card.

It seems like this is a relatively easy fix, and most states have already come under compliance with the law.

So, what’s the hold up in Kentucky?

The Kentucky General Assembly passed a law in the 2016 session, but despite previously urging the law, Gov. Matt Bevin vetoed it.

Some argue the law is a form of federal overreach, too invasive and costly. A Kentucky driver’s license now costs $20 for four years and a Real ID license would cost $48 for eight years — only an extra dollar more a year than now.

Most importantly, the new driver’s licenses would be optional, meaning no one will be forced to apply for the new ID cards, but would need to show other forms of ID to enter federal building or board flights.

It’s time for Kentucky lawmakers to quit dragging their feet on the matter and commit to passing legislation in the upcoming session to bring the state to compliance.