Kentucky amends 'Real ID' request as Oct. 10 deadline nears
Without an extension, Kentuckians would no longer be able to use a driver’s license to enter a federal courthouse or other U.S. government building.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As its waiver prepares to expire October 10, Kentucky sent a revised request on Friday seeking more time to comply with the federal Real ID law, the state's vehicle regulation commissioner said.
Commissioner John-Mark Hack said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security asked the state to submit a letter that was "formatted differently" than one dated August 31. The earlier letter sought an extension on the grounds that Kentucky was making progress.
Without the extension, Kentuckians would no longer be able to use a driver's license to enter a federal facility such as the Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse and Customhouse in Louisville or Fort Knox.
And unless the state upgrades its IDs by January 2018, a Kentucky driver's license won't be enough to board an airplane for a domestic flight.
Hack is scheduled to brief the General Assembly's interim transportation committee about Real ID on Tuesday. He said in an interview that he is "encouraged" that Homeland Security officials approached Kentucky about its application.
"I'm hopeful that they do what I consider the right thing and not unnecessarily complicate the lives of Kentucky citizens," Hack said.
The state is working under its third federal extension. As WDRB News reported this month, Kentucky is one of 32 states that haven't met the standards of the Real ID Act, which Congress passed in 2005 in response to recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission.
The law set tougher standards for state-issued ID cards and driver's licenses used to board airplanes and enter federal buildings.
Hack said the Real ID regulations were established in 2008, stressing that the timing coincided with the start of former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's two terms in office.
"That administration had eight years to deal with that issue and didn't," Hack said. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin took office late last year, and Hack said the Bevin administration must "clean that up."
"It's difficult to watch the governor take political heat for something that should have been taken care of," Hack said.
The state would have met the requirements of Real ID under a bill that passed the Kentucky House and Senate earlier this year. But Bevin vetoed the measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Ernie Harris.
The governor had supported Harris' bill prior to the veto. Hack said Bevin acted in response to broad-based opposition to Real ID and after a session that included a "historic" budget that pumped $1 billion into the state's cash-strapped pensions.
"With all that in mind, the fact that he vetoed this legislation has to be considered in a larger context," Hack said.
But Rodney Kuhl, the state's former vehicle regulation commissioner, said the Beshear administration worked with the federal government to address the requirements of Real ID and was told by federal officials, "You need to pass some type of legislation to get your extension this time."
Kuhl said he worked with Harris on his bill. And he noted Bevin's public support for it prior to the votes in the General Assembly.
"As far as I'm concerned, it's on his shoulders," Kuhl said.
Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.