A major problem that has grown in Oklahoma and will continue to grow if nothing is fixed is the problem of Oklahoma IDs. A new law called the Real ID law was passed May 11, 2005 that requires states to update their state IDs such as driving licenses to a new standard. This new standard involves a set of features that every ID must have, these features have old ones such as full legal name and a signature but also now have a unique identifying number which prevents things like tampering or counterfeiting. This legislation was a slow incremental change that will now affect Oklahoma because the act has not been followed. This will cause several problems for both workers and the general public. Previously, in 2007, Oklahoma legislature passed a law against the act because they felt it was a security risk. The lawmakers felt that the new electronic features put into these cards to prevent fraud and enhance security would give the federal government too much overreach in what was a state matter before the Real ID act. However, it is becoming too late to take away the bill after the legislature failed to do so in June. This bill will soon cause huge problems if not hastily gotten rid of.
The first problem is the issue of military bases. On October 10 originally, people will no longer be able to use Oklahoma driver’s licenses to get into military bases. However, the Department of Homeland Security just recently put forward a 90 day break for military bases. Instead of using these, workers from businesses such as HGL Construction and their subcontractors will instead have to acquire passports to get inside of these military bases. Workers and people who want to visit military bases will have to go out and get passports to continue doing their jobs.
While the issue of useless IDs is bad for the workers, it will also be bad for the general public. The military bases near Oklahoma will have to help provide these passports which costs time and money. This use of funds will eventually have to be pushed onto the common taxpayer. In the end, the average citizen will have to foot the bill for this delayed action on Oklahoma IDs.
However, the biggest issue affecting Oklahomans will be problems at the airport if this issue is not fixed in the near future. If Oklahoma doesn’t start working to fix their old driver’s licenses, Oklahoma IDs will not be usable at airports by 2018. Instead of these IDs, Oklahomans trying to fly using their driver’s license will not be allowed and must instead use something like a passport. It costs around 135 dollars to get a passport after requiring photo identification, proof of citizenship, a passport photo and a set of forms known as DS-11. This process while being moderately expensive is also a long process as well.
Oklahoma needs to hurry up and fix this problem by getting rid of the older law from 2007 and with a sense of urgency, get the state ready to start being able to update drivers’ licenses to the new national standard. The process of fixing IDs will be a long process, as well, so the faster we get ready to start updating the drivers’ licenses, the faster we can get them out there ready to be used in airports and military bases. If we do not go forward with urgency, it will be a huge detriment on the average worker and citizen trying to fly or work.