Bid For REAL ID-Compliant Driver's Licenses Passes House

BATON ROUGE (AP) — House lawmakers have unanimously agreed to allow Louisiana to issue driver's licenses that comply with federal identification law.

         The House voted 97-0 Wednesday to support a Senate-backed proposal to create REAL ID-compliant licenses. It now awaits final Senate approval. A matching House bill also awaits final approval from the full House.

         State residents would need to carry only one card by choosing between a compliant or noncompliant license, under each proposal. Lawmakers, who were originally against the bill, changed their position Wednesday, saying the option to choose a noncompliant license would quell privacy concerns repeatedly raised by conservative groups.

         In 2014, then-Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed a similar bill because of such data-sharing concerns. But supporters of the current proposals said each bill's opt-out option would ensure that people who don't want their information scanned into a database would be protected and that their information wouldn't be shared with the federal government.

         Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 to create national identification standards in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Without a REAL ID-compliant card, Louisiana residents could need a passport or other federally approved identification to board domestic flights or enter federal buildings within the next few years.

         In 2008, state lawmakers enacted a ban on meeting the federal requirements. Louisiana residents have not yet had trouble boarding flights because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security granted states that did not meet the requirements, like Louisiana, temporary extensions to pass legislation in step with the federal law.

         Representatives from the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles have said creating REAL ID-compliant licenses will not cost the state additional money.

         For more information about Senate Bill 227 and House Bill 702 click here



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