The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has not responded to Idaho’s latest request for an extension from enforcing tougher federal ID requirements for those who want access to certain federal buildings and eventually commercial flights, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.
This means Idaho is in a temporary limbo as officials anticipate approval even though the state’s prior compliance extension expired Oct. 10 – the same day new federal ID restrictions were phased in.
Idaho Transportation Department spokesman Vincent Trimboli said Wednesday the agency expects to hear an answer from Homeland Security in the next week. The transportation department submitted its extension request in September.
The REAL ID Act, passed in 2005, is an effort to make driver licenses less susceptible to counterfeit or forgery by requiring proof of legal U.S. residency in order for a license to be valid for federal use. Homeland Security has been phasing in enforcement of the law since 2014. This month’s implementation means people will need beefed-up IDs for high-security federal buildings such as the federal courts, archival agencies, nuclear power plants, military bases and the White House.
Furthermore, such IDs will be required to board commercial aircraft starting in 2016, though the federal government hasn’t given a firm timeline on access to flights.
If the extension is granted, Idaho driver’s licenses would be permitted for federal agency use for one year. Homeland Security has yet to deny Idaho an extension, despite a 2008 Idaho law that bans the Gem State from implementing the more thorough ID requirements.
However, Idaho legislators did tweak the law this year to allow the transportation department to enhance the security of Idaho state driver’s licenses and ID cards to ensure acceptance on commercial flights. Beginning in January, the agency will be required to submit progress reports on extension requests and security ID changes to both the Idaho House and Senate transportation committees.
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