SALEM — The Oregon Legislature has passed a bill to allow local motor-vehicle offices to issue state driver's licenses and other forms of identification that comply with federal requirements borne out of 9/11 security concerns.
Senate Bill 374 overwhelmingly passed the Oregon House on Thursday on a 56-1 vote and now heads to Gov. Kate Brown for signing. The bill will allow residents to go to their local DMV office to get licenses and IDs that comply with higher-security requirements under the federal 2005 Real ID Act.
Real ID-compliant cards will be issued by request of the applicant, but they won't be ready in time for January when the Transportation Security Administration begins enforcing the law at U.S. airports. The state hopes that this week's passage of SB 374 will be enough to earn the state another federal extension, thereby enabling Oregon residents to keep using their existing state-issued IDs in the interim at TSA security checkpoints.
Oregon's third federal extension expired last month and the state is now in a grace period until July 10, buying a little more time for entering certain federal buildings or military bases where the Real ID law is also enforced.
Without an extension, Oregon residents will have to use a valid passport or some other alternative to fly domestically.
"Oregon has been involved in a petty dispute with the federal government over the Real ID law for over 10 years," said Republican Rep. Mike Nearman. "Without action, this dispute threatens to cause significant inconvenience to Oregonians, especially those who want to travel by air or access secure federal buildings. It is long past time for our state to come into compliance with federal ID standards."
Oregon began the compliance process in 2008, but those efforts were blocked the following year when the Legislature passed a law prohibiting further progress unless federal funds were made available. SB 374 says the state can cover additional costs through higher application fees for those wanting Real ID-compliant cards.
About half the country is now in compliance with the federal law, meaning those residents have until Oct. 21, 2020, before being required to show the REAL ID compliant identification. Most of the remaining states, including Oregon, have been granted various extensions; several of them passed bills addressing REAL ID this year, including Washington state, Maine, Minnesota, Alaska, Montana and Missouri.