Arizona Granted Extension For REAL ID: Keeping IDentities Safe Comments

Aug 05, 2015, 13:19 ET from Keeping IDentities Safe

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Arizona joined forty five other states on July 24th, 2015, when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) granted the Copper State an extension to comply with the federal REAL ID standards. Federal agencies are prohibited from accepting driver's licenses and identification cards that do not meet those standards, which are designed to reduce identity theft and fraud. Arizona driver's license card holders will no longer be subject to REAL ID enforcement measures because of the DHS determination.

Arizona initially opposed compliance with the REAL ID standards. In 2008, the state enacted legislation that prohibited compliance with the REAL ID Act. This prohibition prevented the Arizona Department of Transportation from enacting several of the REAL ID standards. Chief among those standards is a requirement that a license must have a maximum term limit of eight years. Arizona residents were issued a "lifetime driver's license", a hazard for highway and public safety. State Senator Bob Worsley introduced the original legislation that would have provided Arizona residents with the option of obtaining a REAL ID compliant credential. Many in the hospitality and travel industry expressed concern regarding REAL ID enforcement at the airport and what that would mean for Arizona's economy. Working with Governor Doug Ducey, Senate Worsley shepherded legislation that provided residents with a "Travel ID", Arizona's version of a REAL ID compliant credential. Soon after, Arizona's Governor applied to DHS for a time extension, committing the state to comply with the REAL ID rules.

Andrew Meehan, Policy Director for Keeping IDentities Safe, stated, "By moving forward, the state was able to prevent a crisis and add security to the Arizona driver's license. It's regrettable that four remaining states have pitted their economies and the convenience of travel against the false hope that DHS will not continue enforcing REAL ID."

Brian Zimmer, President of Keeping IDentities Safe stated, "Only four states and one U.S. Territory remain non-compliant with REAL ID rules, and have not been granted an extension by DHS. Residents of those states, which include: New Hampshire, Minnesota, Louisiana, and New York, are already being denied access to secure federal facilities. Adding Arizona to the REAL ID compliance majority means more than 90% of U.S. residents will possess a more secure driver's license."

Background: The REAL ID Act is a federal law passed in 2005 that set standards for state issued driver's licenses and identification cards for "official purposes," such as boarding an airplane, entering a nuclear power plant or entering a federal building. The REAL ID standards were released in January 2008. In December 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a phased schedule of enforcement for the REAL ID Act. DHS also announced what states were compliant, had been granted the extension, and were deemed noncompliant. Since the enforcement announcement, the number of noncompliant jurisdictions has decreased from fifteen to five. Arizona is the tenth state to move forward and implement the REAL ID standards since DHS announced the enforcement schedule. With regard to the consequences Arizona faced for non-compliance, see commentary by Andrew Meehan published in the Arizona Republic on March 10, 2015. 

About Keeping IDentities Safe:

Keeping IDentities Safe is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, not for profit, crime prevention education public charity, supported by donor contributions from across the United States. Its slogan, "Working to protect the identity of every American", embodies its commitment to higher standards for both government and private entities that issue identity credentials, especially state agencies that issue driver's licenses and ID cards. Keeping IDentities Safe undertakes research projects addressing best practices for DMVs, compliance with federal laws and regulations, identity fraud prevention and related identity management topics. It provides research results and educational programs to the public and to state and federal officials. Keeping IDentities Safe is a member of the Document Security Alliance and of the American National Standards Institute.

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SOURCE Keeping IDentities Safe