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AZ Legislature approves Real ID driver's licenses
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AZ Legislature approves Real ID driver's licenses

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PHOENIX — State lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to legislation requiring the Department of Transportation to create a new type of driver’s license for those who want to use it to board commercial aircraft.

Gov. Doug Ducey already has said he is in support of the plan.

HB 2609 is an outgrowth of the Real ID Act, enacted by Congress and the Bush administration after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon by terrorists who hijacked aircraft. That law directed the Department of Homeland Security to come up with requirements for secure documents for everything from getting into certain federal buildings to boarding commercial aircraft.

The agency’s answer was to recognize driver’s licenses only from states that follow certain procedures. These range from the issuing agency verifying the documents offered by the applicant to prove identity to ensuring the license itself cannot be altered.

But in 2008 Arizona lawmakers, reacting to concerns about a national ID card, specifically barred ADOT from creating a Real ID-compliant license.

That hasn’t been an issue until now. But Homeland Security officials say they could start rejecting Arizona licenses at airport security checkpoints as of January. That would leave Arizonans with only one realistic alternative: a passport; that costs $110 plus a $25 application fee.

This legislation makes acquiring a Real ID-compliant license optional, with applicants having to pay an additional $15 fee.

Follow Howard Fischer on Twitter at @azcapmedia.

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