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New REAL ID Fix Drops Driver's License Mandate

Associated Press

Another measure designed to bring Kentucky into compliance with the post-9/11 federal REAL ID Act won the stamp of approval in committee Tuesday, but some House Republicans want assurances from the governor that he won't veto the measure.

House Bill 410 is the latest legislative attempt to avoid another fast-approaching June 6th deadline, after which Kentuckians won't be able to use driver's licenses to enter federal military bases. Starting in 2018, the same would go for boarding domestic flights.

House Republicans had hoped to hear testimony from Gov. Matt Bevin in committee before voting, but House Appropriations Committee chair Steven Rudy said the clock is ticking.

"House bills are on life support now. We're at the drop dead period, so I made a decision to go ahead and proceed with it," Rudy told reporters. "It's still step one in the process. I feel like the citizens of Kentucky are expecting us to do something on this issue in this session. Otherwise, we're going to have a huge public outcry."

Rudy said the administration has been involved in crafting the bill, which - unlike a 2016 fix vetoed by the governor - makes adoption of the new IDs optional. If signed into law, the measure would allow applicants to opt for standard licenses or the enhanced REAL IDs. Bevin vetoed a 2016 REAL ID compliance bill despite previous indications he was amenable to the changes.

"The concerns of the mandate and only doing one issuance was there, but this is going to address it and make it strictly voluntary. I think everybody's going to come at it and be ok with it," Rudy said.

Both the ACLU and some Republicans have been hesitant to sign on, citing privacy concerns.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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