For those Missouri citizens that use a commercial airline to travel or those that need to visit military bases, you will be required to obtain a new identification card, unless you have a current government-issued passport.

The problem is that Missouri is one of the states that is not in compliance with the REAL ID Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005. It was passed to  to improve security by beefing up the information that citizens are required to report on a driver’s license. Missouri is not in compliance because it passed a law in 2009 to prevent the Missouri Department of Revenue from complying, to protect the private information of citizens. Missouri drivers licenses are no longer a valid form of identification at federal facilities and military bases and will not be valid at airports as proof of identity for domestic flights beginning in 2018.

Since something needs to be done to come into compliance with the Act and to protect Missouri citizen’s privacy, new legislation (HB 151) has been filed by District 14 Rep. Kevin Corlew. It will require the state revenue department to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards to those who want them.

“We want to continue to protect the private information of Missouri citizens, but we also want a viable solution that will allow them to continue to travel freely and easily,” said Corlew. “My bill represents a simple but effective fix that will allow our revenue department to issue REAL ID-compliant identification cards, but will also allow individuals who want to continue tu use the current driver’s license to do that as well. This change will empower Missourians to make their own choice on the issue.”

District 120 Rep. Jason Chipman acknowledges that privacy is the issue when faced with complying with the federal government REAL ID Act. But he says Silicon Valley’s Facebook has already sped over this ground with facial recognition algorithms and most Americans don’t even know it.
“This is something I’m concerned about,” he says. “Does the federal government need to know where I am, whenever they want? I say “no,” because the federal government is failing at doing what they are supposed to be doing—which is protecting our borders. Their solution is “let’s just track everybody,” and see if we can track the people we’re actually looking for.”

Rep. Chipman says this bill gives Missourians an option. You can get an ID that is REAL ID compliant or you can stick with the tried and true ID we already have. “If you don’t plan on flying or visiting a military base, then you should be covered,” he notes.  

He says there have been questions about what to do if you get called to jury duty in federal court. “I put that back on the federal government to figure that out.”

Rep. Chipman says Senator Blunt addressed the legislative caucus earlier this year about Missouri’s non-compliance with the REAL ID Act.

“We asked him, what are you doing to address our problem? He said, “sorry, we did the best we could at the time. It’s now federal law and we’re not doing anything to fix it.”
“Whether that changes with the new administration, I don’t know,” said Rep. Chipman. “This was debated yesterday (Monday, in the state House). There were over a hundred people in there with ideas.”
Rep. Chipman says the best thing to do is sit on it for a month or so, before it is put through committee hearings. That way, he explains, it can be amended at the beginning, so if the Trump administration comes in and decides to make changes, they can change the Bill to adhere to those changes.
“I’m fine with having the option, though I wish the federal government would fix it on their end, but the chances of that happening are slim.”

He says there is another option. “You can get what is called a “passport card.” It looks like a driver’s license, but it functions as a passport. It is REAL ID compliant, but it is only cleared for use in North America. It costs $55 and it’s good for ten years.

Rep. Chipman stated that to initiate the REAL ID program in the state, it will take money that is simply not in the budget at this time.

The Rolla Daily News asked its Facebook readers what they thought of the REAL ID Act and Rep. Corlew’s legislation.
Lee Rafferty said, “The only thing Missouri is not compliant with is the fact that our driver license can be tampered with or counterfeited. Said cards must feature specific features intended to prevent tampering, counterfeiting or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes. However, all of the documents, required to obtain one can be counterfeited and fraudulent. I would say comply and be done with it.”

Luke Roberts wants to know about the privacy issues. “Maybe these privacy issues really are important. It’s hard to tell without knowing what they are.”

Heather Mitchell asks, “What about all the people that have felonies and can’t get a passport?

Wendy Voss Randell says to give Missourians the right to choose a REAL ID or regular ID so that both options are available.

Denise Berry Seevers says “Just comply. If most people knew how easy it is to obtain information they consider private, they would hide in a cave.”