Arkansas Wants More Time to Comply with REAL ID Law

January 23, 2008

Arkansas officials have asked for more time to implement post-Sept. 11 rules for new driver’s licenses.

States face a May 11 deadline to comply with the REAL ID regulations, but Arkansas has requested a waiver.

“Due to the delay in issuing the final rule as well as the complexity of the rule, we need time to evaluate the resources required and the costs necessary to comply,” Richard Weiss, director of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The regulations could complicate air travel for those in states that haven’t yet complied with the REAL ID program, federal officials said.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has said that if states want their licenses to remain valid for air travel after May 2008, those states must seek a waiver indicating they want more time to comply with the legislation.

The deadline is an effort to get states to begin phasing in the REAL ID program. Citizens born after Dec. 1, 1964, would have six years to get a new license; older Americans would have until 2017.

So far, 17 states have passed legislation or resolutions objecting to the REAL ID Act’s provisions, many due to concerns it will cost them too much to comply. The 17, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, are Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington.

Both houses of the Arkansas General Assembly adopted a concurrent resolution last year urging Congress and Homeland Security to add “critical privacy and civil liberty safeguards” to the Real ID law and to “fully fund” it or suspend its implementation.

“This request of extension is not an indication of Arkansas’s intent to comply with the Real ID final rule,” Weiss wrote in his letter.

Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,

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