Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation on Thursday that will bring Oklahoma into compliance with the federal 2005 REAL ID Act.
House Bill 1845 will allow Oklahomans to choose between a REAL ID-compliant drivers licence, or one that is not. A REAL ID-compliant license or identification, or a federally-issued ID such as a passport, will be required to board commercial airlines or enter federal facilities.
In a statement, Fallin said she appreciated the work of legislative leaders who crafted the bill and guided it to passage.
“Our citizens let us know they wanted action on this legislation so they wouldn’t be burdened with the cost and hassle of providing additional identification to gain entrance to federal buildings, military bases or federal courthouse. And they most certainly didn’t want to have to pay for additional identification, such as a passport, in order to board a commercial airliner beginning in January," Fallin said.
The Oklahoma state Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would bring the state in compliance with the federal 2005 REAL ID Act. The bill establishes two forms of Oklahoma driver's licenses. One meets REAL ID requirements, and the other one does not.
State senator David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, voted in favor of House 1845. He says Oklahomans will not be required to present new information to get a license.
“The bill doesn’t change what is collected in any way, and in fact the Real ID license will not require any further data from Oklahomans than is currently required when they receive a driver's license today,” Holt said.
The measure was approved 35 to 11.
Without a Real ID-compliant license, Oklahomans would need a passport or some other form of federal identification to board commercial aircraft, or to enter federal facilities like military bases.
Opponents, including Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, and Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, raised concerns about privacy and the additional $5 cost per license.
“Under the provisions of this existing bill, everyone will have their biometric data collected, whether they are requesting the Real ID compliant, or noncompliant,” Dahm said. “They will still have their biometric data not only collected, but then shared with other states and potentially, then, with other foreign governments.”
Holt argued Oklahomans have been asking for a fix to the REAL ID issue. The state has been granted an extension to meet Real ID compliance, but that extension expires in June.
“For several years now, I think most of our constituents have told us that they want an option that allows them to fly, to enter military bases and federal buildings,” Holt said.
Holt estimates the cost of implementation will be $12 to $15 million.
The bill now heads to Gov. Mary Fallin. In a written statement, she said she is pleased the legislature worked so quickly on the bill.
“We cannot burden Oklahomans with the additional cost and hassle of providing identification to gain entrance to federal buildings, military bases or federal courthouses. And most certainly we can’t let them down by forcing them to have additional identification in order to board a commercial airliner in January. I look forward to receiving this bill on my desk,” Fallin said.