Governor McAuliffe announced on May 15 that Virginia would proceed with implementing REAL ID this year.
The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, no sooner than 2016, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft. States and other jurisdictions have made significant progress in enhancing the security of their licenses over the last number of years The REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.”
As a result, approximately 90% of all U.S. drivers hold licenses from jurisdictions: (1) determined to meet the Act’s standards; or (2) that have received extensions. Individuals holding driver’s licenses or identification cards from these jurisdictions may continue to use them as before.
There have been privacy concerns about REAL ID in the past, and we’ll take steps to protect the privacy and security of Virginians. In 2009, the General Assembly passed legislation that prohibits Virginia from complying with any provision of REAL ID that threatens the privacy or security of Virginians.
Since REAL ID was passed by Congress in 2005, the federal government has granted exemptions to certain states as part of a phased-in enforcement process. Virginia’s current extension ends June 6, 2017. Without further extensions, beginning June 22nd Virginians wouldn’t be able to use their driver’s licenses or ID cards to enter federal facilities and beginning on January 22, 2018, Virginians would be unable to use their state identification to board domestic flights.
For several years, Virginia has sought an alternative implementation plan to comply with REAL ID. The federal government denied a Virginia plan in 2015 and another plan against this year. On March 31st DHS rejected a request for a further extension. The federal government has indicated it is no longer willing to offer long-term extensions.
On April 21, 2017 Commissioner Holcomb notified the federal government that Virginia intends to move forward with REAL ID. Commissioner Holcomb believes that with this commitment letter, DHS will extend Virginia’s extension to October 10, 2017, which is the latest extension date DHS is currently allowing.
Governor McAuliffe’s introduced biennial budget, as well as the caboose bill, will include language authorizing a $10 fee, in addition to all other fees owed, on the “REAL ID”. This means that a renewed compliant 8-year driver’s license will cost $42 – the typical $32 fee plus the $10 compliant charge.
The budgets would also authorize a line of credit to be repaid through the new fees, since DMV will not have sufficient cash reserves to incur costs before the new revenue stream begins. In total, DMV is estimating costs of $20.7 million over a two-year implementation period.
We will evaluate the governor’s proposed budget, including the fee increases, in January. We’ve been very wary of unnecessary fee increases proposed by Governor McAuliffe.
It is a privilege to represent you in the Virginia House of Delegates. I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office. I will be spending the coming weeks meeting and visiting with various groups, businesses and constituents giving updates on the 2017 session. You can email me at DelMFariss@house.virginia.gov or call me at (804)698-1059. You can also join the conversation on our social media page www.facebook.com/DelegateMattFariss.