Energy - March 3, 2017

REAL ID – Real Financial Concern

Pennsylvania was recently granted an extension to come into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act. State lawmakers passed a state law in 2012 barring the state from complying; citing implementation costs, an unfunded federal mandate, and privacy concerns. Five years later, most states have complied and PA is one of the few that still have not. The Department of Homeland Security put the state on notice late last year. Pennsylvania residents would lose the ability to use their state driver’s license to enter military bases, nuclear power plants and some federal buildings by January 2017 and the ability to board a commercial flight by January 2018.  Governor Wolf and legislators from both sides of the aisle agreed to work on compliance; thus the extension from DHS. Now the cost to Pennsylvania’s is of real concern.

PA’s new deadline to comply is June 6, 2017. That’s three months and four days from today. The legislature returns in mid-March and has about 22 session days to repeal the act from 2012, pass legislation to allow for compliance for driver's licenses. The Aviation Council of Pennsylvania issued a press release with the potential cost to state residents. They estimated that between 2.4 million and 5.8 million PA residents will travel by air one time during 2018. Those residents will need to acquire a passport to travel by air and the total cost could range from $406 million to $966 million.  Commonwealth residents could pay a total of close to $1 billion to take one flight next year as the deadline for air travel is still January 22, 2018. Currently there are two bills filed to carry out the repeal and compliance, HB 150 and SB 133, but neither is scheduled for consideration at this time. PA is the largest state currently out of compliance; other states include Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Washington.