FRANKFORT, Ky. (8/1/14) — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has added Kentucky to a growing list of states and territories granted extensions of time for meeting requirements of the stringent new identification security law known as REAL ID – meaning a Kentucky driver’s license is still sufficient for gaining access to the vast majority of federal buildings.
The extension runs through Oct. 10, 2015, and is renewable. Without the extension, those with a Kentucky driver’s license would have had to produce another form of identification, such as a birth certificate or U.S. passport, for access to some federal properties.
The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 in response to the 9/11 Commission, which recommended that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”
The federal act sets minimum standards for production and issuance of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. It also prohibits federal agencies from accepting for official uses driver’s licenses and IDs from “noncompliant” states. By virtue of being granted an extension, Kentucky is not considered to be out of compliance.
To date, 20 other states besides Kentucky have been given extensions, as have the District of Columbia and the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Twenty-one states are listed by the Department of Homeland Security as in compliance. Nine states and American Samoa are listed as noncompliant.
“We are pleased Kentucky has been granted this extension,” said Rodney Kuhl, commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Regulation within the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. “It underlines the progress we have made and our commitment to completing the process. In addition, it provides our driver’s license holders access to federal buildings that might otherwise be limited to them.”
Complying with REAL ID is more complicated for Kentucky than for most other states – in part because driver’s licenses are issued by circuit court clerks, not by a department of motor vehicles. There are 142 issuance locations around Kentucky – all of which would have to meet a greatly enhanced security standard. A security assessment of the local offices is in process.
The Kentucky driver’s license itself is not the issue. In fact, Kentucky in 2012 began issuing a redesigned license and ID card that include state-of-the-art security features.In notifying Governor Steve Beshear of the extension, the Department of Homeland Security said it “recognizes your efforts in enhancing the security of your driver’s licenses and identification cards.”
Information provided by Lisa Tolliver
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