New Ky. driver's licenses will confuse, cause 'anguish,' lawmaker says
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – State Rep. Steve Riggs predicts Kentucky’s new driver’s licenses will create confusion and “a lot of anguish,” according to a news release.
Riggs, a Louisville Democrat who is not seeking re-election in November, voiced his concerns about the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s two-tiered license system during a meeting of the legislature’s interim transportation committee in Monticello, Ky., on Wednesday, the release said.
The state is overhauling licenses in January, when it plans to begin offering two types of IDs: a “standard” driver’s license and a “voluntary travel ID” that also serves as a driver’s license. The main differences between the two are the documents needed to get them and the access they provide.
Starting in 2020, a standard license by itself won’t be accepted to board a domestic flight in the U.S, including at Louisville International Airport. However, a voluntary ID will be sufficient.
“Those getting or renewing their licenses will be confused about which one to get,” Riggs said at the meeting, according to the release. “I guarantee many with the standard credential will almost certainly be upset when they find out they can no longer use it to board a plane or enter a federal government facility like Fort Knox or Fort Campbell down the road. The cabinet should call these a ‘standard’ and a ‘substandard’ ID, because that’s what they are.”
Kentucky is make the changes to comply with the Real ID Act, which requires states to strengthen the security of personal identification documents. Congress passed the law in 2005 in response to recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission.
The GOP-controlled Kentucky legislature approved making two types of licenses available under a bill passed in 2017. That came after Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, vetoed a related measure the year before.
Riggs is not the only lawmaker who has suggested the cabinet’s approach may cause problems. At an Aug. 30 meeting in Frankfort, Republican Rep. Sal Santoro of Florence said he fears some people may not understand the difference between the two IDs and get a standard license – only to later find out it won’t get them on a plane.
Matthew Cole, director of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s division of driver’s licensing, told reporters after that meeting that state officials decided to use the “voluntary travel ID” name to reflect the choice drivers will have.
“We wanted to brand it and make it something that was purely Kentucky, something that would give them enough options to where they can decide which one is the best fit from them,” he said.