Alaska Senator: Real ID October deadline should be extended
A rural senator wants Gov. Mike Dunleavy to tap into his highly publicized relationship with President Donald Trump and secure an extension for complying with new federal identification regulations.
The familiar name is Real ID — a federal program with tighter identification standards administrated by a state's department of motor vehicles offices.
Starting Oct. 1, traditional driver’s licenses will not suffice for entry into a federal building, military facilities or commercial aircraft, though passports will still be accepted.
Donny Olson, D-Golovin, said DMVs don’t exist in many rural communities and the state needs a plan for addressing that. He believes and additional year, maybe two years, would help rural residents.
Olson said he would like to see the governor, who has spent time teaching and raising a family in rural Alaska, and his administration should draft a plan for helping these communities.
Olson believes Dunleavy’s relationship with Trump is a good place to start, according to his Dec. 31 letter:
“I implore you to use that close relationship that you have with the President to encourage him to delay the implementation of REAL ID and fund necessary outreach strategies until the State can connect with every Alaskan. It is the responsibility of the President and your position as Governor of Alaska to implement this unwanted federal mandate properly so Alaskans’ rights to travel are not infringed upon.”
Olson, who is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said he believes the topic will get further review when lawmakers return to Juneau on Jan. 21 for the second year in a two-year legislative session.
“It’s a governmental issue, a government mandate," he said. "The government should be stepping up to the plate to try and make sure that all people throughout the state of Alaska have equal access to getting a Real ID."
KTVA reached out to the governor's office, which did not immediately respond.
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