FRANKFORT – A year after Gov. Matt Bevin vetoed a bill to bring Kentucky in compliance with federal regulations for drivers licenses, state lawmakers approved a similar bill Wednesday and expressed confidence that Bevin will sign it into law this year.
“We have no concern. I have worked with him and his office through the process. They support this bill,” said Rep. Jim DuPlessis, R-Elizabethtown, after the Senate Transportation Committee approved House Bill 410 Wednesday on an 8-2 vote. The full Senate gave final passage to the so-called Read ID bill Wednesday evening on a 26-11 vote.
If Kentucky does not comply with the federal Homeland Security regulation, the state’s driver’s licenses could not be used to access military bases starting June 6 or commercial airplanes starting Jan. 22, 2018.
If the bill becomes law, DuPlessis said, Kentucky would be granted an extension by the federal government until the state starts issuing federally-approved licenses in 2019.
Last year, Bevin urged the House and Senate to pass a similar bill, only to veto it when it arrived on his desk. Members of the Tea Party claimed it could invade their privacy.
Bevin has assured lawmakers he would support this version of the bill in its current form.
A point of contention was that people’s birth certificates would be scanned and sent to the federal government in order to issue the approved driver’s licenses.
DuPlessis said he addressed those concerns with an amendment that allows people to use their passport or a permanent identification card instead of a birth certificate to get their license.
Under the bill, Kentuckians will have a choice to stick with the standard license, which does not require the scanning of personal documents, or request a new and enhanced license, which does.
An eight-year license that complied with the Real ID Act would cost $48. A standard license, also good for eight years, would cost $43. The current cost of a license is $20 for 4 years. Given the extra fees raised by HB 410, it’s estimated that it would produce a net increase of just under $10 million a year in revenue for the state.