A new federal law will be implemented in Jan. 2018 making Pennsylvania and other various state IDs invalid for all air travel, federal buildings, military bases and nuclear power plants. Citizens with a Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Washington or Pennsylvania identification cards starting on Jan. 22, 2018 will be required to obtain a passport for proper identification that meets Homeland Security’s approval.
“It seems like more of a pain than anything,” junior criminal justice major Samantha Viera said. “Even though I’m from New York and have a New York state ID, this will be a major setback for many Americans.”
According to WNEP 16, PennDOT officials bring to light that the Pennsylvania legislature has barred any changes to driver’s licenses that would make them compliant with the new federal regulations. Lawmakers argue that this new policy is costly, and states should not have to pay.
Passports are needed in order to fly domestically as well, which is causing confusion and frustration among citizens. People without passports will not be able to get passed airport security. “I don’t see the correlation between us needing a passport to travel within our very own country,” junior communications major Xavier Taylor said. “What happens when we drive across state lines? Will we have to bring our passports everywhere with us?”
According to Communications Director for the PA Department of Transportation, Rich Kirkpatrick, “If the law would repeal so that PennDOT can adapt to the new federal law, it would take 18 to 24 months to make all of the system changes needed to bring the state into full compliance. It is very likely Homeland Security would grant another extension if the law is repealed, but that is ultimately their decision. PennDOT has made many upgrades to the driver license security over periods time.”
“The details of this new federal law needs to be clarified,” junior marketing major Alexis Schwartz said. “A passport is not a cheap form of identification to obtain, and it usually takes a lot of time to get one. In certain states your passport is imprinted onto your ID, so I wonder if they will do that for the states this is affecting.”
Although no changes are currently implemented, advertisements and signs reiterating the new policy are slowly appearing in airports in the states where this new policy enforces change.