The federal government has denied Kentucky's request for a one-year extension that would have given the state more time to work toward complying with security regulations for driver's licenses and other kinds of identification.
Kentucky's prior extension expired Monday, and the state Transportation Cabinet announced Wednesday that the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security denied the commonwealth's request for another one. The REAL ID law, which Kentucky hasn't complied with yet, was approved by Congress in 2005 and resulted in the establishment of new identification-related security standards.
Most Kentucky residents won't be affected by Homeland Security's denial right away. Starting in January, however, Kentuckians won't be able to enter some secure federal facilities, such as nuclear power plants and military installations, by flashing their state-issued driver's licenses and ID cards.
But the biggest impact won't be felt until January 2018, when Kentucky driver's licenses will no longer be accepted by the Transportation Security Administration. People may have to show an alternative form of ID, such as a passport, to board domestic flights if the state hasn't complied with REAL ID regulations by then.
Remember, this is something that the state legislature already voted to fix, but Bevin said no.
The state legislature already approved a bill that would have helped Kentucky meet the federal government's requirements earlier this year. But Gov. Matt Bevin, who initially supported the proposal, vetoed it after people across the political spectrum raised concerns about the REAL ID issue, said John-Mark Hack, the state Department of Vehicle Regulation's commissioner. The transportation cabinet is planning public meetings where people will be able to learn more about the regulations and offer their perspectives.
Hack expressed confidence Wednesday in the state's ability to address the issues Homeland Security has raised by January 2018, when Kentuckians' ability to fly would be affected.
Hack pointed out that Bevin's administration "inherited this task" from former Gov. Steve Beshear's own administration, which never brought the state into compliance with the REAL ID law. He also said these federal regulations did not appear to be a high priority for the administrations of President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush, given the law's "start and stop" implementation at the federal level over the years.
It's cute that Mr. Hack there (appropriate) is blaming everyone but Gov. Bevin for vetoing the bill that would have resolved this problem months ago, but that's Bevinstan for you.
Going to need to apply for a passport while I still can get one, I guess.