WASHINGTON (CN) – For the third time, the Department of Homeland Security has extended the deadline for the states to comply with federal national security standards for driver’s licenses and identification cards mandated by the REAL ID Act.
The states will have to comply by Jan. 13, 2013 instead of by May 11, 2011.
Under the act, federal agencies are prohibited from accepting a state issued identity document that does not comply with the new standards, for any official purposes – including security checks at airports and entrance to federal courthouses.
The DHS said that most states would not be able to comply by May 11, because of budget shortfalls and because many delayed making infrastructure changes to comply with the act because they were uncertain whether a bill proposed in the last session of the Congress and supported by the Obama administration called PASS ID would change compliance requirements.
That bill died without any further action.
When the REAL ID act was passed in 2005, it angered many state governors who complained about the cost of compliance and the encroachment of the federal government on what has traditionally been a state activity.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 state legislatures have passed laws opposing their states compliance with REAL ID while 10 others have passed resolutions in one or both houses opposing the act.
In response to such vehement opposition, DHS has repeatedly extended the compliance deadline and said that it has awarded over 150 grants totaling approximately $175 million to help states upgrade the systems they use to issue, verify and monitor their identity card programs.