Jun. 12, 2017

By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)
Senate Bill 133, which I supported, was signed into law by Governor Wolf on May 26, as Act 3 of 2017. This legislation was needed to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act. Under the new law, residents will be able to choose between a REAL ID or a standard driver’s license or photo ID. Residents who choose the standard form of identification would have to have a passport or other REAL ID-compliant identification to board an airplane or enter a federal building once the new system is in place.

It is not yet clear how long it will take to fully implement REAL ID in Pennsylvania, so the Commonwealth will be requesting another extension from the federal government (the current extension expires June 6). Assuming the extension is granted, Pennsylvanians will be able to continue using their current form of state-issued identification to board airplanes or enter federal buildings.

The REAL ID will contain the same information as your current driver’s license, however, they will look different as one will be marked REAL ID and the other NOT REAL ID.

This legislative fix offers residents a choice while allowing Pennsylvania to comply with the requirements of federal law while also avoiding unnecessary burdens on taxpayers who would face higher costs for the new form of identification.

PennDOT’s initial timeline to become fully Real ID compliant is about 18-24 months. The governor has said that REAL IDs should be ready for complete roll out March 2019, provided the federal government deems Pennsylvania as compliant.

REAL ID does NOT apply to the following: voting or registering to vote, applying for or receiving federal benefits, being licensed by a state to drive, entering federal facilities that do not currently require a person to present id to enter (i.e. post office), accessing health or life preserving services (hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings) and participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations.

The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) does NOT require children under 18 to provide ID when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification.