There’s still confusion over how long Missourians will be able to fly with current state ID’s.
Missouri’s Revenue Department acknowledged on Tuesday that its deadline to comply with the federal Real ID Act is October 10th but said there was a grace period through January 21st.
Kent Boyd with the Springfield Branson Airport told KOLR-TV he wants clarification from the Department of Homeland Security. “From our point of view there’s conflicting information out there,” Boyd said. “Maybe we’ll know something different if DHS says one way or the other.”
The Kansas City Aviation Department, which owns and operates Kansas City International Airport, issued a statement Wednesday saying the January 21st date is the effective deadline for Missouri.
Still, Boyd said the personnel he has spoken with at the major airports in the state are unclear on what they should tell the public. “We’ve been in contact with the airports in Kansas City and St. Louis, those two along with us are the largest airports in the state,” said Boyd. “They’ve been getting calls from the public and they’re not sure what to tell people either,” he says.
The Kansas City Aviation Department reiterated what the Department of Revenue said in its Tuesday statement; that an extension has been filed and the state is confident it will be granted. The Aviation Department stated that “should the state not receive an extension, an existing grace period from enforcement will be provided through January 21, 2019.”
Boyd at Springfield-Branson Airport is still waiting for clarification from the Department of Homeland Security. He says the uncertainty is frustrating to passengers. “They’re not happy,” Boyd told KOLR. “And I don’t blame them. We try to explain that airports don’t have anything to do with it. It’s the state of Missouri and the federal government. Obviously, people aren’t happy with that answer but that’s the reality of the situation.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Revenue stated Tuesday that it’s on track to be fully compliant with the REAL ID Act by March 2019, which indicates that another waiver will have to be sought to fill the gap after the grace period ends Jan. 21 of next year.
Joe McBride, a spokesman for the Kansas City Aviation Department, tried to comfort those who are apprehensive about the unsure situation.
“The situation and deadlines with REAL ID can be confusing,” said McBride. ”For now Missourians need not worry about what forms of ID to show at a security checkpoint. Meanwhile, all air travelers are advised to familiarize themselves with the approved forms of identification to present at airport security checkpoints. And when the time comes to make a choice, consider opting in for a REAL ID-compliant ID so no additional ID will be needed to board a flight.”
REAL ID-compliant IDs will not be automatic. Missourians will have the option to obtain a REAL ID-compliant ID or driver’s license or opt out. Those who opt out will need to provide approved alternative forms of identification, such as a U.S. passport.
Real ID dates back to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and was recommended by the 9/11 Commission. The federal REAL ID Act, which was passed in 2005, requires stricter identification standards for homeland security and immigration purposes.
Missouri has received several extensions of the law because the State Legislature failed to move forward on the issue. In 2016, the federal government notified the state that no more extensions would be granted.
A small coalition of legislators, primarily Republicans, had protested against the federal law by stating privacy concerns. The proposal signed by Greitens last year bans Social Security numbers from being stored in databases that can be accessed by state or federal governments. It also adds criminal penalties for misuse of driver’s information or unlawful distribution of data.
Alisa Nelson and KOLR-TV contributed to this report