Louisiana residents won't need passports to fly in US

By 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.

Online: www.dhs.gov/secure-drivers-licenses.