Wednesday, March 8, 2017

REAL ID compliance bill advances to Senate

The Kentucky House voted 77-19 today to create “voluntary travel ID” cards that would meet federal REAL ID requirements, while also voting to change procedures for issuance of standard Kentucky driver’s licenses and permits. Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, voted against the bill.

House Bill 410, sponsored by Rep. Jim DuPlessis, R-Elizabethtown, would create the voluntary travel ID—an enhanced driver’s license that could be used to board airplanes and enter certain federal facilities, including certain military facilities, as of Jan. 1, 2019 while meeting security standards of the 2005 federal REAL ID Act. The bill would also spell out rules for the issuance of a “standard” driver’s license, permit or state personal ID card as of that date.

The licenses, permits and IDs under HB 410, both enhanced and standard, would be issued by the state Transportation Cabinet instead of the state Office of the Circuit Court Clerk, as they are now, and allow the documents to be renewed for eight years instead of the current four.

DuPlessis said a standard driver’s license would be standard issue, although those who choose that over the voluntary travel ID would not be able to use a standard license to board an airplane or enter certain federal facilities, as they would with a voluntary travel ID.

“If that person wants to get on an airplane they will need to take their standard Kentucky driver’s license along with some supplemental that the government has listed, maybe a passport,” said DuPlessis. “Standard practice, standard driver’s license, and enhanced practice gives you the voluntary travel ID.”

New fees for driver’s licenses and personal ID cards issued to non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents would also be established under the bill, which would add a $30 fee onto driver’s license, permit and personal ID applications for those individuals. Proceeds from that fee would go into the state’s Road Fund.

Kentucky issued driver’s license and/or permits and personal ID cards to around 20,000 immigrants in the state in 2016, said DuPlessis. If that same number were issued annually under HB 410, he said that could mean around $600,000 in additional state Road Fund dollars.

Other provisions of HB 410 would allow former members of the Kentucky National Guard and Reserve to have that service designated on their driver’s license, and allow spouses and dependents of active duty military stationed outside Kentucky to get a Kentucky driver’s license or personal ID.

When asked by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, if there would be public education and outreach about the new licensing and ID procedures that would be established under HB 410, DuPlessis answered with a swift “yes.”

“I’ve spoken with the Transportation Secretary and he’s emphatic that we would do exactly that,” he told Marzian.

HB 410 now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

For audio clips on this and other topics from lawmakers as well as news photos from the current session, visit the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission online. Video clips from the current session, as well as archived videos, are available on the LRC's YouTube channel. To view or sign up for news releases from the current session, visit the LRC's news page.  A virtual tour of the Capitol is also available online.