Arizona residents will not be able to fly domestically or enter certain federal buildings with their driver’s licenses if the state doesn’t make changes to comply with federal “REAL ID” requirements by the end of 2015.
Since 9/11, the federal government added 31 extra measures for states to use to produce more secure forms of identification. However, state legislatures are responsible for regulating licenses, and five states including Arizona, Maine, Louisiana, Idaho and New Hampshire chose not to comply with the REAL ID Act standards.
Air travel within the country is the biggest problem thousands of Arizona residents could face in the next year. Without a REAL ID, The Department of Homeland Security would not allow flyers through airport security unless they provided another form of identification such as a valid passport.
Access will also be denied to federal buildings and nuclear power plants without a REAL ID by early 2016.
Opponents in Arizona decided against making state licenses compliant with the new standards because of fears that that the REAL ID would work as a tracking device or as a tactic to make the government extra money.
Although Arizona revamped state licenses in 2013, the new IDs do not comply with certain REAL ID requirements, such as requiring new ID photos every eight years and proof that ID holders are in the country legally.
“Arizona you know how we act, sometimes when we’re told by the federal government we need to do something, we’re kind of like that rebellious teenager. We said no we’re not, so we’ve passed a ban, and we said we’re not going to do it,” said Arizona Senator Bob Worsley.
Worsley’s Arizona Senate Bill 1273 proposes bringing the state’s licenses up to federal standards by giving residents the option to pay $15 for a new, REAL ID.
The bill passed through the Senate and has moved to the House. Worsley said he hopes the bill will make it’s way to Governor Doug Ducey’s by the end of March.