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Oklahomans Tell Lawmakers They're Worried About Federal REAL ID Requirements

Tim Sackton
Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Several Oklahoma House members held an informal hearing at the state Capitol on Tuesday for citizens to express concerns about Oklahoma's compliance with the federal REAL ID Act.

A handful of citizens said they were worried about privacy and security concerns if the REAL ID requirements like facial recognition photographs and electronic sharing of information between states are fully implemented in Oklahoma, eCapitol’s Christie Southern reports:

A man, who would only identify himself as "John, resident of Oklahoma" claimed the Real ID Act has ruined his life and forced him to live like an illegal immigrant as he has not renewed his Oklahoma license in years. This has not allowed him to maintain employment, drive, or do other basic things, he said. During his extended public comment, he also called for the resignation of the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety and Gov. Mary Fallin. Others, like Oklahoma resident Julie Henry, claimed she would no longer travel given the increasing requirements and cautioned lawmakers about the consequences of compliance. She particularly worried about privacy and security concerns. DPS Commissioner Michael Thompson acknowledged her concerns, but noted that the state could have a choice between Real ID compliant and non-compliant licenses if the Legislature chose to do it that way.

The states technically don't have to comply, but federal restrictions could prevent people with non-compliant identification from boarding a plane or entering a federal building.

Thompson said he wasn't sure if the federal government would grant further extensions beyond the latest October 10 deadline, and he didn't know if there were any consequences for non-compliance, according to Southern:

"I think we are getting distracted by the data aspects but it's largely a process (of verification) issue," he said. He also noted that the ball was in the Legislature's court as far as compliance goes and the agency and state as a whole would "live with the consequences." As for the personal attacks aimed at him during the meeting, he said they were "unwarranted" and unnecessary to the discussion. [State Rep. Lewis] Moore said currently lawmakers are trying to determine the best course of action. He said he would like to see Oklahoma be granted a one year advance warning on when licenses would not be sufficient for boarding a plane, and a list of secondary measures that meet federal requirements to board a plane. House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, has said in the past he expects the state to address the issue legislatively this session but is unsure of what that plan might look like. . . . Sen. John Sparks, D-Norman, and Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, filed a bill in October that would permit Oklahoma to comply with the act. SB0865 repeals statutory language that prohibits Oklahoma's implementation of the REAL ID Act of 2005.

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