Legislature(2017 - 2018)

2017-01-23 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2017-01-23                     House Journal                      Page 0084
HB 74                                                                                                                         
HOUSE BILL NO. 74 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                                                    
the Governor, entitled:                                                                                                         
     "An Act relating to the implementation of the federal REAL ID                                                              
     Act of 2005; and relating to issuance of identification cards and                                                          
     driver's licenses; and providing for an effective date."                                                                   
was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs and Finance                                                           
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                                             
1.  Zero, Dept. of Military & Veterans' Affairs                                                                                 
2.  Zero, Dept. of Public Safety                                                                                                
3.  Fiscal, Dept. of Administration                                                                                             
The Governor's transmittal letter dated January 20 follows:                                                                     
"Dear Speaker Edgmon:                                                                                                           
Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska                                                                   
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to the implementation of                                                        
the federal REAL ID Act of 2005 for the issuance of identification                                                              
cards and driver licenses. The bill intends to allow the Department of                                                          
Administration (Department) to issue both REAL ID compliant and                                                                 
noncompliant identification cards and driver licenses. The bill will                                                            
also remove the funding restriction that prevents the State from                                                                
complying with the REAL ID Act.                                                                                                 
The REAL ID Act of 2005 (Act) is comprised of several sections that                                                             
strengthen federal laws to protect against terrorist entry into the United                                                      
States, improve security for driver licenses and identification cards,                                                          
improve border infrastructure, and changes other aspects of                                                                     
immigration law. In order to prevent terrorists from obtaining state                                                            
driver licenses and identification cards, the Act creates national                                                              
standards for their issuance and manufacture, and mandates what                                                                 
source documents states can use to verify a person's identity. The Act                                                          
does not usurp State authority to issue licenses or identification cards,                                                       
but rather provides stronger oversight to ensure that all licenses and                                                          
identification cards are less subject to tampering and fraud.                                                                   

2017-01-23                     House Journal                      Page 0085
Similar to our current driver license regime, the bill gives the                                                                
Department the authority to adopt regulations to issue compliant                                                                
licenses and identification cards. The regulations must conform to the                                                          
Act and federal regulations to ensure that the U.S. Department of                                                               
Homeland Security certifies the licenses and cards issued by the State.                                                         
Once the regulations are adopted, the Department will begin to offer                                                            
the compliant driver licenses and compliant identification cards to the                                                         
The benefits of the State issuing compliant licenses and identification                                                         
cards include allowing our residents to access military facilities,                                                             
federal facilities, and pass through Transportation Security                                                                    
Administration checkpoints at airports with their State identification                                                          
documents. Currently, Alaska driver licenses and identification cards                                                           
cannot be used to enter military bases. It is expected that Alaskans will                                                       
soon be unable to fly domestically or access federal buildings because                                                          
our documents do not conform to the Act's requirements. This will                                                               
require Alaskans to use their passport or other federally issued                                                                
identification documents to fly to the lower forty-eight or go to a                                                             
federal building. For those who do not have a passport, they will be                                                            
required to obtain one at an additional personal expense to themselves.                                                         
The bill also recognizes that some Alaskans may not want a REAL ID                                                              
license or identification card. To accommodate those people, the State                                                          
will continue to issue non-REAL ID compliant identification                                                                     
documents. If the Department is not sure which document a person                                                                
wants, the default option will be a noncompliant one. Furthermore, a                                                            
noncompliant document can never cost more than a compliant one,                                                                 
and the State must treat all driver licenses and identification cards the                                                       
same. With these provisions in place, we strike the right balance                                                               
between offering federally recognized and traditional identification                                                            
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                                                        
Bill Walker