For the second year in a row, Sen. John Sparks (D-Norman) and Sen. Kay Floyd (D-Oklahoma City) have filed legislation to resolve Oklahoma’s ongoing non-compliance with the Real ID Act of 2005.
“This week, we filed SB 1 which will bring Oklahoma into compliance with the Real ID Act of 2005,” said Sparks. “This bill will resolve this looming and very real issue which threatens to disrupt both our military’s mission as well as daily life at Oklahoma’s military installations. In addition, it will guarantee Oklahomans are not inconvenienced or at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with federal agencies, accessing military installations, or, in 2018, boarding a commercial aircraft.”
“We hope that the fact that this bill is designated as Senate Bill 1 of the upcoming session will communicate the urgency and gravity of the situation we are facing by remaining non-compliant with the Real ID Act,” said Floyd. “Senate Democratic leadership has had lengthy discussions with the leadership at Tinker AFB and we are surer than ever that we need to resolve this failure as quickly and efficiently as possible. Beginning January 30, our military installations are likely facing disruption to their mission and inconvenience to those who live and work there. We must limit the impending interruption to ‘business as usual’ at our military installations and must solve this problem promptly.”
The Real ID Act of 2005 was signed into law by President George W. Bush in May of 2005. Currently, Oklahoma is not compliant with the Act due to legislation passed in 2007. While Oklahoma had previously been granted extensions to become compliant with the Real ID Act, according to the Department of Public Safety, Oklahoma’s most recent extension is set to expire. The expiration of this extension will make Oklahoma drivers licenses unacceptable forms of ID to access military installations and many other federal facilities effective January 30, 2017. Oklahomans will be required to have a compliant form of ID, such as a passport, in order to access military installations and certain federal facilities and, in 2018, to board commercial aircraft. However, data shows that only around 30% of Oklahomans have a passport.
“This is a serious problem that we need to resolve as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Floyd. “By filing this legislation, we can at least ensure that this solution will be on the table when session starts in February, 2017. That is as quickly as the process can move at this point, which will still force our military installations to take time away from their mission on January 30 to deal with this problem, which the legislature created.”
“However,” Sparks noted, “in order to make this happen as quickly as possible, we will call on Republican leadership in both houses to suspend certain deadline-related rules in order to resolve this issue in days rather than weeks or months. We know what the problem is and we know what the solution is. Now, we must work diligently to ensure that our military installations and Oklahomans trying to access these and other federal facilities are not further inconvenienced by our often protracted legislative process.”