JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens said Tuesday that President Donald Trump may be considering whether to halt or delay a federal identification requirement that could soon prevent residents from Missouri and some other states from using their driver's licenses to board airplanes.
Greitens told Missouri reporters that he spoke with members of Trump's administration about the federal Real ID Act during a recent trip to Washington, D.C.
The law, passed in 2005 under former President George W. Bush, mandates more stringent proof-of-identity requirements in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The 9/11 hijackers obtained valid identification cards from various states, according to the FBI, and a commission that reported on the attacks recommended the federal government develop standards for issuing identification cards as a way to help prevent terrorism and fraud.
But it has spurred controversy in some states, including Missouri, where a separate state law prohibits the Real ID Act from being implemented.
Missouri is one of several noncompliant states where its standard driver's licenses are no longer accepted as valid ID at military bases. The federal government has said that driver's licenses from non-complaint states won't be accepted as identification at airports starting Jan. 22, 2018.
But Trump's administration "actually may be considering a change," Greitens said. "If that change happens, then the IDs that we have today will actually be functional for people to fly."
Bills pending in the House and Senate would give Missourians the option to get Real ID Act compliant or noncompliant state driver's licenses and identification cards.
When asked about his stance on Republican Sen. Ryan Silvey's version of the bill, Greitens did not directly say whether he supported or opposed it. But he repeated his support for giving Missourians options that will allow them to access to air travel and military bases.
"We obviously need to see what the Trump (and) Pence administration is going to do about this rule," Greitens said. "But it's very important to me that every person in the state of Missouri has the option of having an ID that will allow them to fly."
The legislation to allowing licenses that comply with the Real ID Act is opposed by some Missouri Republican lawmakers who have privacy concerns over Real ID Act provisions requiring the state to keep license holders' personal information.
The Department of Homeland Security says the standard driver's licenses of Maine, Minnesota and Montana also are out of compliance with the Real ID Act and cannot be used as ID at federal facilities. Twenty-one other states have been given extensions until later this year to come into compliance.