Time growing short for driver license measure

State lawmakers have until Friday evening to approve a measure that would let Missourians continue using their driver licenses to get on airline flights. (File)

Jefferson City residents on Wednesday said they hope lawmakers approve a license compliance bill so they can continue boarding airplanes.

State lawmakers are still debating a measure to bring Missouri driver licenses into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. The state Senate approved the bill late Tuesday night, but the measure needs to go back to the House after the upper chamber made changes to it. The law requires states to scan and retain copies of documents such as birth certificates every time you renew your driver license. According to the Department of Homeland Security, Missouri driver licenses will no longer be accepted at airport security checkpoints beginning January 22 because the state still doesn't follow the law.

The measure would give one the option to get a REAL ID-compliant or non-compliant driver license. Some lawmakers, such as Sen. Will Kraus (R-Lee's Summit) contend the REAL ID Act is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. But Jefferson City residents such as Gary Kern said they don't buy that argument.

"They think the federal government is invading our privacy," he said, "but then again, they want to turn around, and they want to start restricting people's ability to vote by requiring a certain ID."

Others, such as Janine Steck, said they don't like the concept of REAL ID, but if that's the law of the land, the state should follow it.

Lawmakers have until 6 p.m. Friday to send the legislation to Gov. Eric Greitens. The bill includes a provision that would put it into effect immediately upon receiving the governor's signature.

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