KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards will continue to be accepted at airport checkpoints and most federal buildings for the time being, despite a warning from the Department of Homeland Security that an extension for complying with the REAL ID Act is set to expire.
The act, approved by Congress in 2005, set minimum standards for licenses in response to security concerns following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Enforcement of those requirements has repeatedly been delayed.
Missouri is one of several states that haven’t received additional extensions past Sunday to come into compliance. State officials in October told DHS that laws related to driver’s license security prohibit the state from complying with the act.
Homeland Security in December warned the state that if it wasn’t in compliance by Jan. 10, Missouri driver’s licenses would no longer be accepted at federal facilities.
But on Thursday, U.S. marshals in St. Louis and Kansas City said they are not changing identification and security procedures at federal courthouses in response to the REAL ID Act requirements.
Spokesmen for Kansas City International Airport and Lambert-St. Louis International Airport issued news releases on Thursday assuring passengers that Missouri driver’s licenses would still be accepted at those facilities, adding that residents will be given roughly four months’ notice before any changes to that policy are made.
“The situation with Real ID can be confusing,” KCI spokesman Joe McBride said in a release. “Bottom line, Missourians need not worry about what forms of ID to show at a security checkpoint for months to come.”
Charlie Cook, spokesman for the General Services Administration in Kansas City, said policies vary at federal buildings across the state and are determined by tenants of those buildings.
“Beginning next week, visitors using a Missouri-issued driver’s license or identification card seeking access to federal facilities should contact the agency they’re visiting to determine if identification is required and what kind of identification will be accepted,” Cook said.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who signed a measure in 2009 barring Missouri from complying with the REAL ID Act, said the state’s law needs to change. He said he was encouraged Republican leadership has signaled that the issue will be brought up during the current legislative session.
Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base already have implemented more stringent security requirements for visitors, and officials there said the REAL ID Act won’t result in any additional changes.
Since Nov. 15, Fort Leonard Wood has required adult visitors without a Department of Defense photo identification card to undergo a criminal background check before entering the Army post. The background checks can be waived at the discretion of the senior commander for special events open to the public, such as concerts or an Independence Day celebration. Whiteman uses a similar procedure.
Associated Press writers David Lieb and Adam Aton in Jefferson City and Jim Salter in St. Louis contributed to this report.
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