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Louisiana residents won't need passports to fly in US

Last Modified: Thursday, December 27, 2012 7:26 PM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

Louisiana IDs still don’t comply with federal law, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security last week granted the state a temporary deferment — meaning travelers won’t need passports to fly within the United States.

“We have received a great deal of interest and concern about these requirements, and I’m sure everyone will be pleased to not be required to get a passport to travel domestically,” said Heath Allen, executive director of Lake Charles Regional Airport.

“Hopefully, the state will be able to convince them that our identifications are sufficient.”

The Real ID Act of 2005 requires identification cards to meet certain standards if they’re to be used to enter federal buildings or board commercial flights.

The state in 2008 passed a law prohibiting the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles from complying with the act. The director of the OMV had asked the federal government to recognize the state’s ID cards and cited the legal prohibition the agency faces.

The Department of Homeland Security has repeatedly pushed back the compliance date, and agency head Janet Napolitano had said she would no longer delay implementation of the law, which would have required travelers in noncompliant states to use passports for domestic flights.

Federal officials have said that Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming have meet the law’s requirements.

Other states have not provided adequate information to determine if they meet the requirements, officials said. These states will have an opportunity to respond with extra information before the department makes a final decision.

“DHS’s goal is to implement the REAL ID Act, as required by law, in a measured, fair and responsible way,” reads an agency news release.

“In the coming weeks and months, DHS will, in consultation with states and stakeholders, develop a schedule for the phased enforcement of the act’s statutory prohibitions to ensure that residents of all states are treated in a fair manner.”

Federal officials expect to publish a schedule by early fall. Until the schedule is implemented, federal agencies may continue to accept driver’s licenses and identity cards issued by noncompliant states.


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