Government says Missouri, Illinois no longer compliant with Real ID law

Residents of Missouri, Illinois, and perhaps several other states may find it more difficult to enter federal facilities or board an airplane because their state forms of identification are no longer compliant with the 2005 Real ID law.

The law mandates several changes to state-issued IDs that Illinois claims are too expensive, given their fiscal and budgetary woes.  Missouri passed a law forbidding the state government from complying with Real ID.  And now the Department of Homeland Security has refused to grant any more extensions to either state.

Chicago Tribune:

The Department of Homeland Security plans to announce within the next week when the standard will also extend to airport security, and has pledged to give travelers at least 120 days of notice. That would bring the rule into effect by mid-2016 at the earliest.

Whenever the rule takes effect, travelers with an Illinois ID will need a U.S. passport to pass through security, even for a domestic flight. Those without a passport will still be able to fly but will be subject to an additional security process yet to be defined.

David Druker, a spokesman for the secretary of state's office, said the state was surprised to learn Tuesday that Homeland Security officials had not granted an extension.

"We felt it was misguided and shortsighted on their part," he said.

The secretary of state's office has already undertaken many steps sought by Homeland Security, he said, such as a facial recognition program that compares photos in a state database and detailed checks on immigration and Social Security records.

But Illinois has otherwise been one of many states resistant to the Real ID Act, which was passed by Congress in 2005 after a 9/11 Commission recommendation to tighten standards on government-issued IDs. A bill in the Illinois General Assembly to comply with Real ID stalled in committee this spring.

For a state in the midst of economic turmoil — and without a budget for six months — the issue is no surprise: money. The secretary of state's office has estimated an annual cost of $4 million simply to verify residents' birth certificates — a component of Real ID — and to store them in a federal database. Druker said the total cost would have grown well past that figure — somewhere between $50 and $60 million.

It seems patently unfair that residents should suffer because their state government can't get its act together.  But that's what we're looking at here in Illinois.  Politicians have been bickering for 6 months and have failed to pass a budget.  Even if they did, the millions of dollars that need to be spent to institute the changes mandated by the law cannot be spared.

Several other states are at risk of being declared non-compliant with Real ID, and there's a chance that the portions of the law will be rolled back.  But that probably won't help Illinois or Missouri residents caught up in this spat over compliance.

Residents of Missouri, Illinois, and perhaps several other states may find it more difficult to enter federal facilities or board an airplane because their state forms of identification are no longer compliant with the 2005 Real ID law.

The law mandates several changes to state-issued IDs that Illinois claims are too expensive, given their fiscal and budgetary woes.  Missouri passed a law forbidding the state government from complying with Real ID.  And now the Department of Homeland Security has refused to grant any more extensions to either state.

Chicago Tribune:

The Department of Homeland Security plans to announce within the next week when the standard will also extend to airport security, and has pledged to give travelers at least 120 days of notice. That would bring the rule into effect by mid-2016 at the earliest.

Whenever the rule takes effect, travelers with an Illinois ID will need a U.S. passport to pass through security, even for a domestic flight. Those without a passport will still be able to fly but will be subject to an additional security process yet to be defined.

David Druker, a spokesman for the secretary of state's office, said the state was surprised to learn Tuesday that Homeland Security officials had not granted an extension.

"We felt it was misguided and shortsighted on their part," he said.

The secretary of state's office has already undertaken many steps sought by Homeland Security, he said, such as a facial recognition program that compares photos in a state database and detailed checks on immigration and Social Security records.

But Illinois has otherwise been one of many states resistant to the Real ID Act, which was passed by Congress in 2005 after a 9/11 Commission recommendation to tighten standards on government-issued IDs. A bill in the Illinois General Assembly to comply with Real ID stalled in committee this spring.

For a state in the midst of economic turmoil — and without a budget for six months — the issue is no surprise: money. The secretary of state's office has estimated an annual cost of $4 million simply to verify residents' birth certificates — a component of Real ID — and to store them in a federal database. Druker said the total cost would have grown well past that figure — somewhere between $50 and $60 million.

It seems patently unfair that residents should suffer because their state government can't get its act together.  But that's what we're looking at here in Illinois.  Politicians have been bickering for 6 months and have failed to pass a budget.  Even if they did, the millions of dollars that need to be spent to institute the changes mandated by the law cannot be spared.

Several other states are at risk of being declared non-compliant with Real ID, and there's a chance that the portions of the law will be rolled back.  But that probably won't help Illinois or Missouri residents caught up in this spat over compliance.