REAL ID Task Force meets to continue effort to reach federal compliance

Published: Sep. 5, 2013 at 3:41 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 5, 2013 at 9:51 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - In 2005 the Federal Government unveiled new program to combat terrorism by putting more information on drivers' licenses. Louisiana is one of 30 states not in compliance with that, but a task force is working on it.

Members of the Real ID Act of 2005 task force have made significant progress in getting Louisiana drivers licenses in compliance with the Federal Government. Congress wants to put a microchip in everyone's drivers license that contains information many feel is private.

Louisiana lawmakers enacted a prohibition against the federal REAL ID law in 2008, calling the security requirements too intrusive.

"I'm a citizen of Louisiana. I'm a citizen of the United States of America. I should not have to be treated the same as a terrorist is treated," said Sandy McDade who opposes the Real ID act.

Questions have been raised about whether Louisiana residents will soon need passports to fly domestically - or face intense questioning from airport security - because their licenses don't comply with the federal standards.

Louisiana is one of 30 states still not in compliance with the federal act; some eight years after it was originally passed. While Louisiana is close to being in line, 12 states have done nothing and plan on doing nothing. Lawmakers here are looking for options for Louisiana drivers who may not want the microchip in their licenses.

"An amendment was put on a bill in the Senate I believe that allowed us to have an Opt in/ Opt Out so if you wanted to get your real ID you could if you didn't you wouldn't have to," said Representative Brett Geymann, (R) Lake Charles.

That opinion doesn't sit well with North Louisiana Senator Robert Adley, (R) Benton.

When asked about the possibility of the opt-in/opt-out choice and if it is something he would support, he said, "No, I wouldn't support opting in until I knew exactly what I was opting into!"

Adley thinks the Federal Government is already keeping too many tabs on us. "What I heard in there that was most interesting is that now Congress on every credit card is going to have all the tracking that they need to follow people," he said.

Congress still has no definitive date for a mandatory compliance date.

Task force member Colonel Mike Edmonson says the state is just short of compliance with the act. He says he needs some legislation passed to get there.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.