Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Real ID office

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's Mero Street headquarters 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A bill introduced Wednesday in the Kentucky General Assembly would expand the list of documents people can use when applying for the Real ID driver’s licenses.

House Bill 453 adds current property tax bills, car registrations and existing driver's licenses to the acceptable forms of ID Kentuckians can present to prove their name and address.

It also removes a requirement that most documents – like a utility bill – must be less than 61 days old.

While Kentucky must comply with the Real ID Act of 2005, states can expand which documents they'll accept for the enhanced licenses, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. 

The bill comes as Kentucky hustles to open regional Real ID offices across the state ahead of an October 1 federal deadline. At that point, current driver’s licenses won’t be accepted for boarding flights at airports in the U.S., including at Louisville’s Muhammad Ali International Airport.

Instead, a Real ID, passport or other federally-approved documents such as a military ID will be needed.

Republican state Reps. Sal Santoro, Robert Goforth and Kim Moser are the bill’s sponsors, along with Rep. Joni Jenkins, a Louisville Democrat who is the House Minority Floor Leader.

They filed the measure as an “emergency” – meaning that it would become law when signed by Gov. Andy Beshear.

The bill also takes the first step towards the Transportation Cabinet taking control of all driver’s licensing operations in the state, a move county circuit court clerks support.

It calls for local clerks to stop issuing driver’s licenses by June 30, 2022.

The cabinet, which is overseeing the state rollout of Real ID, has opened offices in Frankfort, Bowling Green, Paducah and Somerset.

Sarah Jackson, the cabinet's project manager, told lawmakers earlier this month that she expects most, “if not all,” of the first 12 to 14 offices across the state to open by late spring.

Jackson told reporters that two offices in Louisville are under consideration.

The U.S. Travel Association estimates that 99 million Americans don’t have an ID – such as a Real ID or passport – that would allow them to board domestic flights once the new federal deadline takes effect. It believes roughly 78,500 people wouldn’t be able to board a domestic flight on October 1.

Christopher Bidwell, senior vice president of security for the Airports Council International-North America, said there will be a “significant crisis” at airports in the fall. The Louisville, Lexington and northern Kentucky airports are council members.

Bidwell said the U.S. Transportation Security Administration hasn’t wavered from the October deadline, but the council is among those asking for an extension.

On Twitter this week, U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., called Real ID a “boondoggle” and a “[w]aste of time, waste of money, expansion of government, virtually no benefit.”

Massie predicted that the federal government will extend the deadline.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said Thursday that may be under discussion, but “of course there's a difference between we in the house might want to do and what the senate might want to do and what the administration might want to do.”

“I think if you've got a passport, you ought to stick with your passport,” he said. “That's what I probably plan to do.”

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