Louisiana gets last minute REAL ID reprieve from Washington - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Louisiana gets last minute REAL ID reprieve from Washington

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

The state of Louisiana received a waiver from the federal government Friday to comply with the Real ID law which requires tougher standards for obtaining driver’s licenses and other state issued forms of identification.

The waiver could not have come soon enough.  On Saturday, another portion of the law takes effect. 

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, starting Oct. 10, visitors seeking access to military bases and almost all federal facilities must present proper identification issued by Real ID compliant states, Or, if the state is like Louisiana and has not made changes in line with the Real ID law but has received a waiver, the current driver’s licenses will be accepted as proper identification.

"Later on in 2016 the Louisiana legislature will look will adopt more legislation possibly to look at different requirements that we may need to meet that federal ID requirement,” said Trooper Nick Manale, of the Louisiana State Police.

"The fact is the federal government is not going to shut down all of the federal buildings, they're not going to tell litigants that they can't go into the court houses,” said Marjorie Esman, head of the ACLU in Louisiana.

The Real ID law of 2005 came in response to the 911 terrorist attacks and a subsequent 911 Commission’s recommendations.

On this law, the ACLU sides with many conservatives who see it as government overreach.

"Why would we want to turn over our private information to a database that would allow the government to track us?" Esman said.

The law has numerous requirements for states before issuing driver’s licenses.  Among them, states would have to have technology to capture digital images of identity source documents so that they can be retained in electronic storage, as well as confirm with the Social Security Administration individuals’ social security numbers.

In addition, states would have to provide electronic access to such information to all other states.

The Department of Homeland Security says Real ID is not a national identification card and that there will not be a federal database for drivers’ information.

Esman is not convinced of that.

"It creates a federal database by having a chip and a bar code on your driver's license, so that the federal government will be able to track people where ever they go,” she said.

Eventually airline passengers without Real ID compliant driver’s licenses or ID cards will need to present another form of identification like a passport.

Passengers at Louis Armstrong International Airport weighed in on the prospect of that happening possibly sometime next year.

"My passport isn't up to date, I'd have to go to the Social Security Office, or the post office, or whatever it may be,” said Nick Morel.

“In my personal opinion I would do it," said traveler Stephanie Diebold. "It wouldn’t be cumbersome at all.”

DHS said the TSA will continue to accept valid state issued driver’s licenses and identification cards for now.  DHS plans to announce the schedule for changes to air travel requirements by the end of the year.

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