HAZARD —- According to a report in The Courier Journal, people with driver’s licenses from Kentucky may have to show a passport or some other form of federal identification by 2016 to comply with a law tightening security across the state.
Most states, in fact, have complied with the new federal regulations, but Kentucky, along with nine other states, has yet to do so. Unless Kentucky fully complies with the changes required under the REAL ID Act, Kentucky residents will need a passport or another acceptable form of identification simply to board an airplane.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has enacted a phased enforcement plan for the REAL ID Act, as passed by Congress. The REAL ID Act of 2005, which was signed by President George W. Bush, is described on the DHS website as “a coordinated effort by the states and the Federal Government to improve the reliability and accuracy of state-issued identification documents, which should inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.”
The DHS website also points out that the REAL ID is not a national identification card. According to the website, “States and territories will continue to issue driver’s licenses and identification cards, and there is no Federal database of driver information. Each jurisdiction will issue its own unique license and maintain its own records.”
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokeswoman Lisa Tolliver told The Courier Journal that one big issue is that unlike many states where driver’s licenses are issued by a single state agency, Kentucky’s licenses are handled by local Circuit Court clerk’s offices at 145 locations, making it more difficult to standardize procedures.
“We have been working to get into compliance,” Tolliver said. “We will have to be fully compliant by 2016.”
When asked about this issue, Perry County Circuit Court Clerk Charles Patterson said, “The design and manufacture of the IDs fall, actually, under the state Transportation Cabinet.”
“The circuit clerk’s office is responsible for presenting those to the public and making sure they’re made right,” he explained.
Patterson said his office would be instructed on any changes that are made through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and would make the changes that are necessary.
Up until this point, Patterson indicated that he had not been given any kind of deadline or timeframe. However, he was not concerned that the state would be unable to comply with the new rules.
“You go to Laurel County, wherever, and you’re going to see the same equipment, the same software, the same license,” said Patterson. “We’ll be given the equipment and the software and such and we’ll make those licenses.”
As to when the changes can be expected to be made, the procedures for making those changes, and the possible cost to Kentucky residents who will need the new ID, Patterson pledged to make that information public once it had been given to him.
Mindy Miller can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.