Without a REAL ID, traveling Arizonans could be grounded

Phoenix -Unless the legislature acts this week, by next year, Arizona driver licenses might be good only for their original purpose: driving.

Sponsored by Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, Senate Bill 1273 would give Arizonans the option of getting a REAL ID from the MVD. Though pricing ultimately will be determined by the Arizona Department of Transportation, Worsley estimated the cost of a REAL ID will be $15.

“As an advocate for the motoring and traveling public, AAA is alarmed that the legislature may fail to act on this bill,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “If SB 1273 doesn’t receive a hearing in the House this week, using an Arizona driver’s license to catch a flight or enter a federal building may no longer be permitted after the end of this year.”

The REAL ID Act of 2005 was passed by the federal government to standardize state IDs across the country following the 9/11 attacks. Arizona is one of only five states not in compliance with REAL ID.

Some state legislators worried that REAL IDs would reduce citizens’ privacy because they would be part of a database that shared driver license information with the federal government. So, in 2008, Arizona passed legislation that prohibited the state from issuing REAL ID licenses.

If lawmakers fail to make REAL IDs available in our state, Arizonans would be required to present alternative forms of identification – such as a U.S. Passport – as early as next year, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

AAA Arizona supports SB 1273 and urges lawmakers to do the same.

As an advocacy organization representing more than 860,000 Arizonans, AAA is actively involved in the legislative process. Each session, the club actively monitors or engages in more than 100 bills introduced at the state capitol. In addition to transportation-related issues, AAA also monitors legislation pertaining to the automotive, travel and insurance industries.   back...
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