Kentucky must finish complying with Real ID standards

Published 5:57 pm Thursday, January 23, 2020


The Advocate-Messenger

It’s past time for Kentucky to comply with the new Real ID standards, which is why it is critical for the governor and other state leaders to continue to make this a priority. 

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The state has seemingly been dragging its feet on the issue for several years and has been granted several extensions to comply with the law. 

Passed by Congress in 2005, the Real ID Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibited federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.

After a decade and a half, Kentucky has yet to comply with the federal law that was passed as an anti-terrorism measure meant to keep people from obtaining false driver’s licenses.

After the most recent extension, Kentucky has until October to comply with the law. 

Without compliance, Kentuckians could lose the ability to use their driver’s licenses to do things such as board a domestic flight, enter a military base or even enter some courthouses. Kentuckians would then be required to show some other form of legally-documented identification, like a birth certificate, passport or residency card — all things the average person is not likely to carry on their person on an average day. 

With the impending deadline, Kentucky has started to pick up some momentum on the matter, establishing a dozen regional offices around the state, with hopes of having up to 30 offices where residents can obtain their Real ID. 

In addition to establishing these offices, the state needs to do a better job of educating the public about the benefits of having a Real ID — not every driver must have a Real ID — and how to go about obtaining one. 

Residents can go to and fill out an ID guide quiz to find out which documents they need to get a Real ID.

The licenses will cost $24 for four years or $48 for eight years.

The Beshear administration has announced that any Kentuckian can now obtain a Real ID at any of the offices that already offer Real IDs. That’s a step in the right direction; now we need to keep the momentum going.

A key component of that will be making the public aware of the law and its impact.