Missouri Senate Sends Real ID Compliance Measure To House
Missouri senators voted early Wednesday to give residents the option of whether to get a driver's license that complies with a federal identification requirement, which would allow people to board airplanes and enter military bases.
Missouri is one of only five states that doesn't comply or have an extension to comply with a 2005 federal law that established tougher licensing requirements in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Lawmakers have pushed back on the stringent proof-of-identity requirements under the law, known as the Real ID Act, citing privacy issues.
But after hours of debate that started Tuesday, the Missouri Senate voted 28-5 to give Missouri residents the option to get state driver's licenses and identification cards that either comply or don't comply with the federal law. The legislation now heads to the House.
"I understand it's not what everybody wants," Kansas City Republican Sen. Ryan Silvey said. "But it does provide our citizens with a choice."
The federal law was passed under former President George W. Bush in response to the terrorist attacks. The FBI determined the Sept. 11 hijackers obtained valid identification cards from various states, and a commission that reported on the attacks recommended the federal government develop standards for issuing identification cards as a way to help prevent terrorism and fraud.
Current state law doesn't allow Missouri to issue so-called Real IDs, and lawmakers have resisted changing that policy because the act requires the state to create a database with copies of documents such as birth certificates.
If the state doesn't make changes, residents won't be able to use Missouri identification cards to board planes or enter some federal facilities, such as military bases, without extra documentation or a passport starting in 2018.
Still, that hasn't swayed some skeptics.
"This bill is bigger government, and it is intruding into the lives of our citizens," said Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee's Summit Republican and one of the staunchest critics of the Real ID Act. "It is taking their private information and putting it in a national database."
After private negotiations, senators added changes to the legislation aimed at protecting people's information and soothing critics. Those tweaks include banning copies of documents from being kept online. The changes mean the legislation must go back to the House.
Lawmakers have until Friday to send bills to Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, who has said he supports giving Missourians options that will allow them to access to air travel and military bases.