Louisiana Residents May Soon Need Passports For Domestic Flights
Starting on January 1, 2016 Louisiana residents may need a passport to fly domestically as a result of the state's failure to comply with the Real ID Act.
The act, passed in 2005 following the 9/11 attacks, required states to tighten up on driver's license security. In addition to regular information like photo identification, signature, D.O.B., etc., the licenses are required to have "machine readable technology" in the form of a chip.
According to the Department of Homeland Security Louisiana is one of four states—along with New York, Minnesota and New Hampshire—that are not in compliance. In addition to those states, the territory of American Samoa is also out of compliance with the Real ID Act.
So, how soon will this be a real problem?
As early as next year, Louisiana residents could face difficulty boarding a plane for a domestic flight as Homeland Security will require those with noncompliant driver's licenses to have a second photo ID in order to make it past TSA checkpoints.
A recent agency memo listed a passport as an acceptable photo ID.
The truth is, most people don't have passports because they don't travel outside of the country often enough—not to mention they are pretty pricey at $110 for ages 16 and older.
That is over three times the cost of a regular Louisiana driver's license.
Some people on social media have expressed their opinion that Louisiana residents shouldn't be inconvenienced or forced to spend extra money because our leaders chose not to follow federal law.
According to an editorial from NOLA.com, it's Gov. Bobby Jindal's fault that Louisiana isn't in compliance with the Real ID Act.
The Legislature passed a law in 2014 to implement the Real ID Act, but the governor vetoed it because some conservative groups were concerned it would 'compromise Louisiana's sovereignty over what is fundamentally a state method of identification.'
The office of Bobby Jindal recently responded to the recent Homeland Security memo with the same argument.
The Office of Motor Vehicles continues to address our concerns regarding Real ID with the Department of Homeland Security. Those concerns include the unnecessary federal oversight of our driver licenses. ... Previously, we have asked for and have been granted a waiver and will once again submit a waiver request.
Other Jindal critics say this is typical of the Governor Jindal, who is known to take advantage of any opportunity to resist the Obama administration. But critics also point out that this law was around before Obama even took office.
Bush signed the Real ID Act into law after it was on of the key recommendations of the 911 Commission which came up with ways to better protect our nation after the terrorist attacks on NYC and Washington D.C. back on September 11, 2001.
The commission pointed out that four of the terrorists used driver's licenses to pass through security before working with others to crash two jetliners into the World Trade Center and another into the Pentagon.
I can only imagine how many Louisianians may show up to the airport and, much to their surprise, be unable to board because of the state's non-compliance.
Do you think the state should comply with the federal law, or would you rather pay $110 for a passport—not to mention, the time it would take for it to get approved?
Comment below with your thoughts on Louisiana's failure to comply.