Lawmakers Begin Push to Upgrade Pa. IDs

Unless Pennsylvania complies with the federal Real ID Act, residents will not be able to board flights with their drivers licenses starting in January 2018.

PA drivers license

A Pennsylvania Senate Committee has reportedly begun the push to upgrade state IDs to comply with federal standards enacted by the REAL ID Act

The Act, which was passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, requires state driver’s licenses to meet federal safety and validation requirements. Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states that has not updated its IDs to conform to federal standards.

The Department of Homeland Security has pushed for Pennsylvania to meet federal ID standards but has continually granted the state extensions since 2008. When the most recent extension was granted last month, Gov. Tom Wolf said his administration would “continue to work with the General Assembly and the federal government to come into compliance and ensure we can resolve this in an efficient and timely manner before residents face any additional challenges.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a Pennsylvania Senate Committee has recommended repealing a 2012 state law that prevents the state from altering current ID cards to comply with the REAL ID Act. The law was approved by legislators who believed they were preventing an overreach of the federal government.

The latest extension gives the state until June 5th to comply with the REAL ID Act before Pennsylvania driver’s licenses are no longer considered suitable forms of identification when entering federal facilities. In January of 2018, state driver’s licenses will no longer allow residents to board commercial airlines.

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