PA Senate Passes Ward Bill that Starts Process of Bringing State into Federal Compliance with Real ID Act

Harrisburg, PA – On Tuesday March 28, the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill 133, sponsored by PA Senator Kim Ward (R-39th), which repeals the Pennsylvania Real ID Non-Participation Act of 2012 and directs the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to request an extension from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to comply with the provisions of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. 

The bill was introduced in response to the 2016 directive from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security stating that Pennsylvania driver’s licenses and identification cards would no longer be a valid form of identification when boarding domestic flights in the United States starting in January 2018 due to non-compliance with the REAL ID Act.  A U.S. Passport or Passbook is the most common form of alternative identification that would be accepted.  “It would be a costly burden and significant inconvenience for Pennsylvanians to be forced to obtain a U.S. Passport to fly domestically or enter a federal building due to our non-compliance,” stated Senator Ward. 

“Our resistance to the REAL ID Act in 2012 was based on concerns regarding implementation costs and privacy issues.  Since that time, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has shown flexibility for different statewide plans, and Senate Bill 133 gives people an option so they are not forced to get a Real ID if they choose not to,” said Ward.

Pennsylvania currently has a limited extension from DHS until July 6, 2017, immediately after which state driver’s licenses and identification cards will no longer be accepted for access to military facilities, federal buildings, or nuclear power sites and no longer valid for domestic airline travel in January.  Full legislative approval of Senate Bill 133 would allow for a possible additional extension while plan approval is pending.

Contact: Rob Ritson – rritson@pasen.gov  (724)-600-7002