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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 1, 2016 01:10 PM
From: Senator Kim L. Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Repeal of the REAL ID Nonparticipation Act
I am introducing legislation to repeal the REAL ID Nonparticipation Act, which prohibits Pennsylvania from complying with the Federal REAL ID Act.

As you are probably aware, Pennsylvanians are now facing two deadlines for changes that will cause significant inconvenience and impediments for those who do not have a United States passport.

As of January 30, 2017, federal agencies will be prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by Pennsylvania. On January 22, 2018, Pennsylvanians over age 18 will need a passport to travel on any commercial airplane.

The state legislature overwhelmingly passed Act 38 in 2012 to address several concerns with REAL ID at the time. Many of these concerns may not be valid today considering the Federal REAL ID Act requires states to adopt and institute 38 specific standards to come into compliance and Pennsylvania currently meets 32 of them. The only provisions PENNDOT still needs to institute in order to comply with REAL ID are the following:
  • Commit to marking fully compliant DL and IDs with a DHS-approved security marking;
  • Requires a person to apply in person for the re-issuance of their driver’s license if he or she has a material change in his or her personally identifiable information. A material change does not included a change in address;
  • Prohibit remote renewal of REAL ID DL/ID when there is a material change in personally identifiable information. A material change does not included a change in address;
  • Do not permit an individual to hold more than one REAL ID document, and no more than one DL;
  • Submit a Final Certification package; and
  • If choosing to issue both compliant and noncompliant, clearly indicate on the face of the non-compliant document and in the machine readable zone that it is not acceptable for official purposes and incorporates a unique design or color indicator that clearly distinguishes them from compliant licenses and identification cards.
Pennsylvania is one of only 6 states noncompliant with REAL ID or that have been granted an extension by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) giving them time to come into compliance. Twenty-four states are REAL ID compliant as of today, including many of whom had initially considered a legislative initiative similar to our REAL ID Nonparticipation Act. Most states who have complied have allow residents the option of obtaining a REAL ID-complaint identification or non-compliant identification. This reduces the cost and it allows the customer to opt-in. However, PENNDOT cannot even consider giving Pennsylvanians the option of obtaining due to Act 38.

The USDHS has indicated in a letter to PENNDOT an extension for Pennsylvania may be granted “if there are new developments or additional information regarding your jurisdiction’s progress towards meeting outstanding requirements,” which consideration of a repeal of Act 38 could be.

Given the monumental inconvenience non-compliance will have on many of our constituents, the level of compliance PENNDOT already has with REAL ID, and the few outstanding issues that remain, I believe it is now necessary for the General Assembly to give thoughtful reconsideration of Act 38.

My legislation would repeal Act 38 of 2012, require PENNDOT to apply to the USDHS for an extension, and ultimately move Pennsylvania into compliance with the Federal REAL ID Act.

Introduced as SB133