SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – In just a little over a year, Missouri residents won’t be able to use their driver’s license as a valid form of identification at airports. Travelers will have to use a passport, even if flying domestic.
Right now, Missouri is not compliant with the Real ID Act. Federal facilities and military bases don’t accept a Missouri issued ID. And in 2018, airports won’t either.
That’s why State Representative Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City, has pre-filed House Bill 151, which would allow Missourians to get a driver’s license that’s compliant with the federal act.
“Missouri has had 11 years to deal with it. Now we are getting up to crunch time,” said Kent Boyd, Springfield-Branson Airport spokesperson.
The Real ID Act was passed in 2005. And in 2009, state law meant to protect the privacy of citizens kept Missouri from complying with the federal act.
“If they don’t get it fixed in the next 13 months there’s going to be havoc in airports, Missouri residents trying to get on an airplane and having their licenses turned down,” said Boyd.
Boyd says all airports in Missouri, including St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield plan to tell their legislators that this issue needs to be fixed.
If it’s not fixed, Missouri residents would have to use a passport, even to board a domestic flight.
“I don’t like it,” said Jerry Carmack, a Cabool resident. “I think it’s a bunch of crap.”
“A lot of people can’t get a passport; they can’t afford it,” said Debora O’Neal, a Springfield resident.
State Representative Kevin Corlew says the solution is simple. House Bill 151 would require the Department of Revenue to issue a Real ID-compliant driver’s license to residents.
“It will be the same process,” Corlew said.
But only to those who want one.
“If they have some concerns about some of the privacy issues that some people have expressed in complying with Real ID, then our legislation would allow them to continue to have the existing Missouri driver’s license,” he said.
The fees would be the same. But the state would add documents used for identification to a database and a photo to software that uses facial recognition.
“It is important especially from the security aspect,” said Corlew.
While some residents might show concern over privacy, other say complying with federal regulation means less risk for everyone getting on a plane.
“I can understand why people might not be in favor of that, but to me, making it more complicated I see that as a good thing,” said Bjorn Lindstron, a Branson area resident. “The more safeguards you have, the safer everyone is.”