Tom Wolf signs REAL ID Bill into LawTop Stories

May 27, 2017 09:33
Tom Wolf signs REAL ID Bill into Law

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed the REAL ID Compliance Act on Friday (May 26).

Pennsylvania lawmakers on Wednesday voted for the bill. The bill is designed to comply with the federal identification standards for whoever wants to fly or visit federal facilities.

Pennsylvania was one of the state to turn its back against REAL ID compliance, saying that it was unnecessarily expensive. But according to recent federal rules without a real id no one can board airplanes. That started in January this year.

The new measure gives option to Pennsylvania residents to obtain a driver’s license or other ID meets the rules of a 2005 federal law enacted in response to the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and Washington.

It will take more than a year to implement the IDs and the governor expects them to be available in 2017.

Meanwhile, Tom Wolf is hoping to get a federal waiver for Pennsylvania residents.

Without a REAL ID, people require a passport or a military ID card to board airplanes or enter federal facilities like  courthouses or military bases.

The ID cost is estimated to be $11 higher than the regular license fees.

Representative Frank Ryan called the legislation "a reasonable option for us to get around an unnecessary federal regulation."

The measure overturns a 2012 state law signed by then Governor Tom Corbett that prevented Pennsylvania from complying based on concerns about cost, constitutionally and government intrusiveness.

State Senator Kim Ward said, “I am thankful to the governor and the legislature for working with me to move the commonwealth towards compliance with the federal REAL ID Act. ... The restrictions our constituents are facing if we continue to not comply with the federal government are truly burdensome. I am hopeful the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will view what we have done in Senate Bill 133 favorably and no Pennsylvanian needs a passport to get into a federal building or on a military base or to fly just within the United States.”

Representative Ed Neilson, D-Philadelphia said: The new legislation aims to "protect the public, not look over our shoulders, not put us in a big database that's been talked about."

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