Ore. cost at $16M for license security measures

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon must spend $16.3 million over the next six years to improve the security of driver’s licenses, or the federal government could refuse to recognize Oregon IDs for things like boarding a plane, a report to the Legislature says.

The state doesn’t meet standards set by the REAL ID Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005, and in 2009, Oregon lawmakers said agencies couldn’t use state dollars to make the required changes unless federal dollars covered the costs, the Salem Statesman Journal reports.

Among the improvements the law requires are saving images of birth certificates and re-verifying Social Security numbers each time a person renews a license. The most expensive, at $7.3 million, is the imaging requirement.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has certified 20 states as being compliant. Washington, California, Idaho and Nevada also are among those that aren’t.

Oregon meets only 28 of the 39 standards the REAL ID Act imposes.

The law’s original compliance deadline was May 2008. The state failed to meet an extended compliance deadline in January.

David House, a spokesman for the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division, said Homeland Security officials have implied that a new compliance schedule will be out this winter, and it likely will include a grace period. People going to federal buildings and boarding airlines from states that don’t comply would be warned but still allowed to pass security.

House said he doesn’t know how long that grace period would be or when it would start.

House said an option for Oregon is to ask Homeland Security for a permanent exemption from some parts of the law.

“We could say ‘OK, we may not meet on these requirements, but we have things that we do that are above and beyond,”’ he said. “So, even though we don’t meet every point, maybe we are close enough.”

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Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com

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