Governor Edwards signs REAL ID laws that give citizens choices

Governor Edwards signs REAL ID laws that give citizens choices

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Days after the Orlando nightclub shooting, Louisiana's governor signed bills into law Tuesday relating to the federal "Real ID" law.

The REAL ID ACT of 2005 sets minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards.

"Those individuals in Louisiana who still have an objection to REAL ID need not get a REAL ID compliant card if they don't want to. That would be their option," said Gov. John Bel Edwards at a bill signing ceremony at the state capitol in Baton Rouge.

Governor Edwards signed two bills into law allowing Louisianians to choose whether to obtain a driver's license or state issued ID card that stand up to the REAL ID requirements.

"It's really a good compromise between the need to make it easier for people to board airplanes, to do things that people need to do while also protecting the privacy for whom that is a higher priority," said Marjorie Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU.

Starting in January 2018 air travelers with licenses that are not compliant with the federal law must show another form of acceptable identification like a passport, or military ID card.

"By 2020 every air traveler will need identification that complies with the REAL ID standards in order to get on an airplane," said the governor.

"There are some privacy risks if you choose to get a REAL ID and that is you will have facial scanning when you start the process of getting your driver's license, there will be an electronic record of all of your documents, your birth certificate and whatever documentation you need in order to establish your entitlement to a license and these things will be kept in a stored centralized database," said Esman.

In terms of databases, there are no guarantees they will not fall prey to hackers.

"It is a risk of identity theft, and it's also a risk of a government database of who's who, and where and what," said Esman.

Still, Esman said Louisiana's laws will not leave citizens in the dark.

"It requires them to be informed before they get their license of what the choices are," she said.

The governor said this week is a reminder that the threat of terrorism is real, an obvious reference to the nightclub attack in Orlando.

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