Comitta: Legislature passes measure to comply with Real ID law

HARRISBURG, May 25 – The state House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would help put Pennsylvania in line with federal Real ID rules and ensure that state residents don’t face difficulty using their IDs for air travel or visits to federal facilities, said state Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester.

Once S.B. 133 is signed into law, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will provide Pennsylvanians the option of choosing a standard driver’s license or photo ID card, or IDs that are Real ID-compliant.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s office has indicated that he will sign the bill in short order.

Before those changes can take effect, the federal Department of Homeland Security is expected to issue extensions that would allow Pennsylvanians to continue using their standard driver's license to fly and access federal buildings until 2020.

“Our freedom to travel shouldn't be hindered because of a decision legislators made on your behalf back in 2012,” Comitta said.

Pennsylvania had been given a deadline of June 6 to adhere to the 2005 federal Real ID Act, which set minimum standards for issuing identification cards. Otherwise, residents could have been prohibited from using their state-issued identification to board a plane, starting in 2018, or enter certain federal buildings, starting this summer.

The Real ID Nonparticipation Act prohibited state agencies from complying with the federal Real ID law. Pennsylvania and several other states refused to participate with the law, arguing that Congress overstepped its authority and had issued an unfunded mandate to the states.

The Real ID license will likely cost more than the standard license, but without the Real ID license, Pennsylvanians will need a passport or military ID to fly or enter many federal facilities.