Real ID rollout bill advances to full House

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FRANKFORT, KY—A bill that supporters say is the final step needed for statewide implementation of the federal Real ID requirement has passed a House committee.

“This is a federal mandate,” House Bill 453 primary cosponsor Rep. Sal Santoro, R-Florence, told the House Transportation Committee before its approval of the bill. “It’s not Transportation (Cabinet), it’s not us in the legislature. I just want everyone to know that.”

Santoro said HB 453—of which House Minority Floor Leader Joni L. Jenkins, D-Shively, is also a primary cosponsor—will “clearly reflect” in statute that regional Real ID offices are under the oversight of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Additionally, the bill would transition all driver’s licensing, permits, and personal ID card responsibilities from Kentucky’s circuit court clerk offices to the Cabinet by June 30, 2022.

“We have to change it and now’s the time. It going to gradually happen in this biennium – it’s not going to be tomorrow,” Santoro said.

Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said in his testimony before the committee on HB 453 that the Real ID issue has moved his Cabinet toward a common goal.

“Bottom line, our goal is to deliver for Kentuckians who want a Real ID before the Oct. 1 enforcement deadline,” said Gray.

HB 453 builds on a 2017 state law that created a new state “voluntary travel ID” and other procedures to bring Kentucky into compliance with strict federal identification standards under the 2005 Real ID Act. A Kentucky voluntary travel ID or other federally-accepted form of identification will be needed to board commercial flights and enter certain federal facilities as of Oct. 1, 2020.

Two pilot locations for issuance of the new voluntary travel ID opened in central Kentucky in 2019, followed by the rollout of regional Real ID offices in recent months. The Cabinet expects Kentucky to have 18-24 regional offices statewide at full implementation.

“That doesn’t exclude more (offices) if funds are available,” said Kentucky Real ID project manager Sarah Jackson, who testified before the committee alongside Santoro and Gray.

HB 453 now returns to the full House for consideration.

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