During March Madness, I admit that traveling to Indiana or Tennessee feels like traveling to a foreign country. But pretty soon, you may actually need a United States passport to fly to these states. In 2005, Congress passed “The REAL ID Act” which requires states to meet certain identification requirements when issuing state driver's licenses. The states have until January 2018 to comply before their current state issued ID’s will no longer serve as valid identification for boarding a domestic flight. Kentucky is one of nine states not in compliance.
During the 2016 General Assembly, the House and Senate agreed to legislation bringing Kentucky into compliance with the Act, but it was vetoed by Governor Matt Bevin. Kentucky applied for an extension, as did several other states, but our application was denied in October 2016. However, Gov. Bevin’s administration reapplied for an extension and it was granted on January 19, 2017, a couple of weeks before military posts, such as Fort Knox and Fort Campbell, were planning to turn away visitors using a Kentucky driver’s license. Those facilities will no longer accept Kentucky driver’s licenses as a valid form of identification starting June 6, 2017.
This year’s General Assembly has filed HB 77, a new attempt to bring Kentucky into compliance. If HB77 does not become law, you will need one of these forms of identification to board any domestic flight starting January 28, 2018.
Periodically, the Rights Blog will track important bills through the Kentucky General Assembly. These entries are not intended to advocate for or against passage of any particular bill, but serve only to discuss the effects of a bill passing and the effects if it doesn't. More information about the REAL ID Act can be found here.