FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Alaska residents could soon need more than a driver’s license to gain access to military bases and other federal facilities, because Alaska’s state-issued identification cards remain out of compliance with federal law.
Alaska IDs will be invalid for entering federal buildings as of Oct. 10. They won’t be sufficient to get people through airport checkpoints starting in 2018, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://bit.ly/2d1RdfV).
Alaska is one of 28 states and U.S. territories that issue IDs that don’t comply with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005.
The Department of Homeland Security has delayed the law’s implementation several times and granted Alaska a waiver in 2015. The state has applied for another waiver, but officials say they aren’t sure it will come before next month’s deadline.
“It will be difficult to get the waiver this time, so we are advising people who need to access military bases that they should consult whatever federal facility they are trying to access about what kind of identification will be required,” said Alaska Department of Administration spokeswoman Minta Montalbo.
Congress approved the REAL ID law in 2005 after the 9/11 Commission recommended more secure forms of personal identification.
Montalbo said a 2008 law signed by Gov. Sarah Palin has prevented the state from spending the money needed to meet all requirements of the federal law.
“To do this (nationally mandated) verification process, we would have to have better software, better digital cameras,” Montalbo said. “We are not allowed to spend money for these things. Because we’ve gone as far as we can, we were warned (by the federal government) that it’s not guaranteed that we’ll get an extension.”
Gov. Bill Walker plans to ask the Legislature next year to allow the state issue two types of ID cards “to offer Alaskans a choice,” Montalbo said.
“Those who want the REAL ID and are comfortable with it could get it and those who either don’t need it or are not comfortable with it don’t have to,” she said.
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com