FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) A press release issued this morning by the Alaska Senate Democrats announced that State Senator Donny Olson (D – Golovin) is calling on Governor Mike Dunleavy for an extension on the REAL ID compliance deadline.
The Department of Homeland Security has mandated that anyone wishing to board a commercial aircraft after October 1, 2020 must present identification compliant with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements.
Forms of identification not compliant with the TSA’s list of acceptable forms of identification, such as non-REAL ID state driver’s licenses or identification cards, will not be accepted for boarding commercial aircraft after the October deadline.
According to the press release, Senator Olson commented that, “Governor Dunleavy is extremely close with President Trump, and he should take advantage of that relationship to seek an extension so the state can figure out a proper path to reach all Alaskans.”
In a phone interview, Senator Olson referred to an initiative undertaken by the Alaska Department of Administration to raise $60,000 in order to send a mobile REAL ID machine to over 100 rural Alaskan villages. It is unclear whether or not there are other plans for providing access to REAL ID forms of identification in communities without a DMV.
According to Senator Olson, a state government entity soliciting donations from the public is unprecedented. “Not only is it peculiar, it’s downright offensive,” said the senator, adding that he has not experienced anything like this during his 20 year tenure in the Senate.
“There needs to be an alternative way to go ahead and try and make it so that the REAL ID issue is addressed directly and doesn’t put undue obstacles on people that are out there,” said Senator Olson.
The Department of Administration was not immediately available for comment.
The REAL ID Act, which was passed by Congress in 2005, has gone through multiple phases of enforcement. For example, REAL ID should have been required before entering restricted areas for Federal facilities and nuclear power plants as of 2014. Despite this, REAL ID policies have not always been uniformly enforced.
During an interview, Senator Click Bishop (R – Fairbanks) reminded Alaskans that REAL ID forms of identification are not the only way to fly. “There’s other forms of ID,” said Senator Bishop, “Proof of tribal membership, passports,” he added. Federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID, permanent resident cards, U.S. or foreign government-issued passports, and U.S. passport cards, among others are accepted by the TSA.
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