In a huge victory for religious freedom and civil liberty, the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted this week to provide an exemption to biometric collection, retention, and storage for state-issued drivers’ licenses and ID cards. SB 683 also directs that the biometric data previously collected from exempted persons be wiped from the database.
The bill, which now goes back to the State Senate, where it is expected to pass, will bring Oklahoma into compliance with the Federal Real ID law, but protect its citizens from having to obtain a biometric ID. House sponsor Jon Echols explained that while the bill does bring the state into compliance with federal law, those individuals who opt for a traditional ID would not be able to board a plane using that form of ID. But they could use an alternative form of ID, such as a passport.
The federal ID Act passed Congress in 2005, in reaction to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Those arguing for the Real ID said that the 19 hijackers used fake documents and 364 aliases. The law created minimum standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards (for those citizens who do not drive).