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Oklahoma House Advances Real ID Compliance Bill

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland

The Oklahoma House of Representatives took a step toward becoming Real ID compliant Thursday. The House voted 78 to 18 to approve the measure that allows the state to produce identification that meets federal security guidelines under the federal 2005 Real ID Act. Oklahomans must use a Real ID-compliant identification or passport by January 2018 to board a commercial airline flight, or by June of this year to enter federal facilities.

State Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, authored the bill. She says compliance is way overdue.

“It grandma has a grandson die in Seattle and she’s not going to have time to drive there, you need to know that you don’t have to do a last minute thing, that you have the comfort of knowing that your Real ID will allow you to do things like board commercial flights,” Osborn said.

Osborn’s bill gives Oklahomans the choice between a REAL ID compliant driver’s licence or identification card, or one that is not.

The Department of Homeland Security issued Oklahoma its final compliance extension in January.

“We got the last possible extension with the agreement that we would expedite the bill through the House, Senate, and have it signed by the executive branch to show good faith in starting the implementation phase,” Osborn said.

Opponents like Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill, argue Real ID is an invasion of privacy, and the extra five dollar fee per driver’s license is a tax on citizens.

“We are taxing our people for a right that they are guaranteed,” Hardin said. “Our government cannot restrict countries from coming here, yet we can restrict our people from access to their courts and federal buildings.”

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Jacob McCleland spent nine years as a reporter and host at public radio station KRCU in Cape Girardeau, Mo. His stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Here & Now, Harvest Public Media and PRI’s The World. Jacob has reported on floods, disappearing languages, crop duster pilots, anvil shooters, Manuel Noriega, mule jumps and more.
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