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Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 10:17 AM AKST

Governor Walker Introduces Bill to Comply with Federal REAL ID Act

Alaska NewsJUNEAU – Governor Bill Walker introduced legislation today that would bring the State of Alaska in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act, and prevent travel restrictions on residents with a REAL ID-compliant Alaska driver license. Passed by Congress in 2005, REAL ID establishes national standards on the manufacture and issuance of driver licenses and identification cards to improve security and limit the production of false ID’s. Governor Walker’s legislation would allow Alaskans to choose between REAL ID-compliant and regular, noncompliant identification cards and driver licenses.

In 2008, the Alaska Legislature passed a law prohibiting the use of state funds to implement the REAL ID Act. Since the federal government has begun to enforce the law, Alaskans are at risk of not being able to enter military bases or go through TSA security without a passport or federally issued ID. Governor Walker worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to secure an extension to compliance with the REAL ID Act until June 2017. However, the federal agency informed the Governor it would not grant the state any further extensions to comply with the law.

“Since the implementation of the REAL ID Act began earlier this year, we have worked with federal officials to extend compliance of the law in Alaska. That was only a stopgap measure, and it is critical that we establish a permanent solution to this problem,” said Governor Walker. “Thousands of Alaskans who work in federal facilities and on military bases will be impacted when these rules are finally enforced. The legislation I have introduced will address that problem while accommodating those who do not wish to have a REAL ID license.”

If the Governor’s legislation does not pass this session, Alaskans will lose the waiver and starting in 2018, be unable to fly domestically or access many federal buildings with an Alaska driver license or identification card. A U.S. passport or federally issued identification would be required.

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