The state Senate has passed a bill that would put Missouri in compliance with stricter federal identification standards so that Missourians can still board planes next year. The measure heads back to the House with changes.
Sen. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City), who is carrying the House proposal, has changed it to say that residents could choose whether they want a so-called REAL ID for access to planes, military bases and federal facilities.
“Clearly I don’t think the votes exist to force everyone into the REAL ID system, which is why I have come up with the option and followed the path of several other states in saying those who want it can get it but those who don’t want it don’t have to have it,” says Silvey.
Missouri is one of four states not compliant with the federal REAL ID law. The others are Maine, Montana, and Minnesota.
Opponents of the measure have privacy concerns. The bill would ban Social Security numbers from being stored in databases that can be accessed by state or federal governments.
An amendment submitted by Senator Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit) stipulating that information will not be stored on a system connected to the internet, or on a network that connects to the internet, was adopted.
Another amendment offered by Kraus that was adopted prohibits the state from charging a duplication fee to people who choose to replace a non-compliant identification with a REAL ID compliant identification.
The legislation says the state would not be required to offer a compliant identification to those who are issued a free ID to vote under a photo ID law passed by the legislature last year. An amendment to do away with this language from Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D-St, Louis) was rejected.
Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring) says the law is a form of coercion by the federal government.
“The idea of a choice is false when one of the choices that are supposedly offered comes with a penalty,” says Eigel. “The penalty in this case being the threat of denying the boarding of lawful citizens to enter onto an airplane.”
The legislature’s 2017 regular session must end by 6 p.m. on Friday. GOP Governor Eric Greitens has not ruled out calling a special session, if lawmakers don’t pass the REAL ID legislation by Friday’s deadline. Otherwise, Missourians would have to show a passport to get on commercial planes, starting in January.
Jason Taylor contributed to this story