As of Wednesday, January 13, Missouri driver’s licenses and identification cards (DL/ID) are no longer valid forms of identification for unescorted access to the military base at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., according to information its Public Affairs Office issued earlier this week.
Valid secondary forms of ID required
Visitors needing emergency services will be allowed a one-time only pass using their Missouri DL/ID through January 27.
Thereafter, visitors must present additional valid ID such as a passport or a certified copy of birth certificate. (Contact the base for a complete list.)
Missouri law vs federal law
The procedural change results from failure to comply with all new criteria for driver’s licenses as specified in the REAL ID Act of 2005 (“the Act”).
Non-compliance deems Missouri’s driver’s licenses and ID cards unacceptable for identification purposes when accessing federal facilities (and nuclear power plants).
In fact, in April 2009, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed HB 361 into law to prohibit compliance with the Act.
Identity theft, biometrics, and citizens’ rights
Concerned citizens and lawmakers oppose collction of biometric data such as digital facial recognition images.
Others also, like the Constitutional Alliance , perceive the Act to be in violation of several constitutional rights. Because of its provisions for linking personal information databases nationwide, opponents fear the Act paves the way to a national identification system.
Proponents highlight the fact that several 9/11 terrorists used stolen, duplicate or fake driver’s licenses to board planes they crashed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, causing mass destruction of lives and property.
Missouri’s security enhancements fall short…
In December 2012, Department of Revenue (DOR) reformatted Missouri driver’s licenses and identification cards with security enhancements to protect against fraud and identity theft.
Processing was centralized and applicants no longer receive new licenses or cards over the counter. Rather, applicants now receive temporary papers good for 30 days while waiting an average of 7-10 days for their new licenses to arrive by mail.
Nevertheless, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified officials in October 2015 that Missouri’s exemptions from implementing the Act would expire on January 10, 2016.
Greatest impact may come later…
In two years on January 22, 2018, Missouri travelers holding non-compliant DL/ID will face problems boarding domestic flights unless they can also present what the TSA deems an acceptable secondary form of identification.
Principle or pragmatism?
In light of the problems Missouri travelers would face in the future if nothing changes, Governor Nixon called for legislative action.
The House Committee on Emerging Issues scheduled a hearing for January 13 to discuss the Act and how best to preserve Missourians’ rights and interests.