House changes 'Real ID' bill, putting Pennsylvania in tough spot to meet federal terrorism controls
Pennsylvanians could face airline travel bans after the Legislature altered a bill Wednesday that would have paved the way for new state driver's licenses that comply with federal anti-terrorism protocols.
The Republican-controlled House voted along near party lines to amend a Senate bill that would have let PennDOT create a new driver's license to match requirements of a 2005 federal law known as the Real ID Act. The Senate bill would have repealed a 2012 law prohibiting PennDOT from complying with Real ID over lawmakers' cost concerns and fear the federal government was overstepping its authority by creating a national identification card.
In the fall, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned state officials that continued failure to comply with the law would result in Pennsylvania residents being prohibited from boarding commercial planes and entering federal properties in 2018. In January, Wolf and legislative leaders secured a six-month extension to repeal the old law as a good-faith effort at meeting federal requirements.
In March, the Senate voted with little debate to repeal the 2012 law. On Wednesday, the House didn't, making it much more difficult for the state to hit Homeland Security's June 6 deadline for repeal.