Eric Pratt statement on REAL ID extension

REAL ID grace period extended for Pennsylvania

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended a grace period that will give ME more time to comply with the federal Real ID Act.

"According to (U.S. Department of Homeland Security), during this grace period, federal agencies will continue to accept driver's licenses and identification cards issued by states with pending extensions", said Sam Fettig, Gov. Mark Dayton's spokesman.

At issue is a federal law with tougher proof-of-identity requirements needed at airports, some federal facilities and military bases.

What happens after that remains unclear.

Minnesota has requested a REAL ID compliance extension through October 2018.

Officials with the governor's office and the state Department of Public Safety pointed to a September 13 statement from Dayton's office, issued after Dayton's chief of staff met with federal officials to deliver Dayton's request for a yearlong extension.

Minnesota has lagged behind other states in complying with the 2005 Real ID Act, which was written following the attacks of September 11, 2001. It expects to begin issuing the new licenses in October 2018. The last extension expired Tuesday. Legislation enacted earlier this year set that deadline for getting the state fully up to speed on Real ID.

A REAL ID is mainly for non-U.S. citizens, who due to their legal status, are unable to obtain a driver license, but they can also be issued to non-drivers looking for a government approved picture identification card.

"The Department of Homeland Security is really focused on Hurricane relief right now". And the Maine Legislature in 2007 passed a law prohibiting the state from complying with Real ID amid concerns that it would create a de facto "internal passport".

States can continue to request waivers from compliance until 2020.

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