Gov. Walker introduces legislation to make Alaska IDs federally compliant
Gov. Bill Walker introduced legislation Monday to bring Alaska into compliance with the REAL ID Act. Without compliant identification cards, Alaskans may not be able to go on base or be allowed through security checkpoints at airports as early as June 6.
Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act established standards for driver licenses and identification cards nationwide in an effort to combat fake IDs and improve security by verifying ID holders’ identity and legal status in the U.S. Alaska’s Legislature passed a law in 2008 that stopped funding to implement the new rules in Alaska and the state has been granted compliance waivers since. But Walker said the federal government confirmed Alaska must comply by this summer and said that no more waivers will be granted.
“Since the implementation of the REAL ID Act began earlier this year, we have worked with federal officials to extend compliance of the law in Alaska,” Walker said in a statement. “That was only a stopgap measure, and it is critical that we establish a permanent solution to this problem. Thousands of Alaskans who work in federal facilities and on military bases will be impacted when these rules are finally enforced.”
If compliance requirements are not met, Alaskans will need a federally issued ID or U.S. passport to fly in or out of the state, as state-issued IDs will be rejected at all Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.
Under his bill, House Bill 74, Alaskans would be allowed to choose either compliant identification cards and driver licenses or “regular, noncompliant” versions, Walker wrote. Some of the differences between the two will be visual, making it easier to discern between compliant and noncompliant IDs. Additionally, HB74 states that noncompliant cards will be $5 cheaper than compliant IDs.
In order to obtain a compliant ID, Alaskans will need to provide documentation verifying their identity, date and location of birth, their Social Security number and their current address. The act also requires verification of a person’s legal status in the U.S., proving either their permanent residence or citizenship or their temporary status.
Noncompliant IDs and driver’s licenses must only follow state requirements for identification verification, and will indicate they are not compliant. Noncompliant IDs can still be used to access health care and state-run facilities.
More information can be found on the DHS’ REAL ID website.
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