Pennsylvania was recently granted an extension by the federal government to comply with REAL ID. The Commonwealth now has until June 5 to fix state law to meet the requirements of the act.
The delay will allow Pennsylvania residents to continue using their driver’s licenses as identification to enter federal buildings. Without the extension, residents would have needed an additional photo ID, such as a passport, to gain access to military buildings, nuclear power plants and federal facilities starting on Jan. 30.
However, the air travel restriction mandated by REAL ID is still in place for 2018. As a result, Pennsylvanians will not be able to use their driver’s licenses to board domestic commercial flights unless additional extensions are granted or the issue is addressed legislatively.
Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders wrote to former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson earlier this month requesting the REAL ID extension.
The extension will allow the Wolf administration, including PennDOT, to work with the General Assembly to resolve the state’s non-compliance during the current legislative session. The Department of Homeland Security told state leaders that additional extensions may be granted, as necessary, once the Commonwealth can commit to meeting all REAL ID requirements.
The Wolf administration and legislative leaders have been communicating about how to resolve Pennsylvania’s non-compliance and have looked at ways in which the state can become compliant in the most cost-effective and straightforward way possible.
Over the years, the General Assembly and PennDOT have worked to enhance the security of Pennsylvania driver’s licenses, but federal law requires additional improvements.
This week, I joined 115 of my House colleagues in signing on to a letter to President Donald Trump asking for his administration to re-examine the application of the REAL ID Act and encourage Congress to make changes to the law in order to resolve the constitutional and cost issues associated with it.
I sometimes use this column to answer your questions regarding any state government-related matter. Please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office