TSA let­ter not enough for Real ID

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ARKANSAS - FRANK FELLONE Fjfel­lone@gmail.com

Dear Ma­hatma: I went to the big Rev­enue Of­fice on Sev­enth Street to get one of the new Real ID driver’s li­censes so I can get on an air­plane. As proof of res­i­dency I pro­vided a let­ter from the Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion con­firm­ing my ac­cep­tance into the precheck pro­gram. The let­ter in­cluded my ad­dress. The nice Rev­enue folks said the TSA let­ter was not proof of res­i­dency. Does this make sense?

— Solid Ci­ti­zen

Dear Solid: The world is com­pli­cated; most of it makes no sense.

First, some back­ground. Congress, in its wis­dom, passed the “Real ID Act of 2005.” It re­quires that any­one who goes into a fed­eral fa­cil­ity or boards a do­mes­tic flight af­ter Oct. 1, 2020, must have a Real ID driver’s li­cense or a plain old driver’s li­cense and ad­di­tional forms of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, such as a pass­port.

(Ask us some­day about Mex­ico and our mus­tache. Mus­tache? What mus­tache?)

All this, as we know, has to do with safety and se­cu­rity. Sept. 11, 2001, was a long time ago. Or was it? Seems like yes­ter­day in our mind.

Seek­ing sense about the Rev­enue Of­fice and the TSA let­ter, we asked the De­part­ment of Fi­nance and Ad­min­is­tra­tion, in the form of its spokesman, Scott Hardin.

What’s up with that, O Wise One?

He said the Real ID is a fed­eral re­quire­ment which the states must im­ple­ment, and so DF&A worked with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to de­ter­mine which doc­u­ments could be ac­cepted as proof of res­i­dency. A TSA let­ter such as this one is not on that list.

What is on that list? Lots of things. On the pri­mary list of doc­u­ments are pass­port and birth cer­tifi­cate, plus oth­ers. The sec­ondary list in­cludes a cur­rent driver’s li­cense, armed forces dis­charge pa­pers, con­cealed hand­gun li­cense, pi­lot’s li­cense, prison re­lease doc­u­ment (!), and sev­eral oth­ers.

Nowhere can be found a friendly let­ter from the Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion. Drat.

For a full list of doc­u­ments, and for the an­swers to many ques­tions re­gard­ing the Real ID, go to the driver ser­vices sec­tion www.dfa.arkansas.gov. Read this be­fore go­ing to one of the re­gional of­fices that is­sue the Real ID.

Not every Rev­enue Of­fice does the Real ID, which re­quires spe­cial tech­nol­ogy and train­ing. Twenty-five re­gional of­fices do. Check first. Adding more of­fices is not cur­rently un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, Hardin said.

All this talk about driver’s li­censes got us to think­ing. How many li­censes does the state cur­rently have out there?

A to­tal of 2,150,731, of which or­di­nary li­censes — Class D, 1,981,696 — are the vast ma­jor­ity. About 140,000 folks have Real IDs.

This is out of a pop­u­la­tion of right at 3 mil­lion.

Ad­den­dum: Hardin said there is some con­fu­sion about the newly de­signed driver’s li­cense and the Real ID. The for­mer rolled out ear­lier this year. The new de­sign is not au­to­mat­i­cally the Real ID, which re­quires all those ad­di­tional doc­u­ments.

Van­ity plate seen on Markham Street: RAWRRR.

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