Kentucky driver’s licenses cost could increase with Real ID
Kentuckians may soon see the cost and renewable period of their driver’s licenses increase in the next few years.
Starting in 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will begin implementing the REAL ID Act of 2005, which will require U.S. citizens to have a REAL ID to enter federal facilities and board an airplane.
The REAL ID Act came as a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission for the federal government to set standards for identifying documents like driver’s licenses.
Rodney Kuhl, commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicle Regulation, told lawmakers Thursday at a Transportation Committee meeting at the Capitol Annex the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Commission recommends an increase in the cost of those licenses and centralizing their issuance.
In the last year, Kuhl said officials visited Indiana, which is already a REAL ID state, to see the process for issuing those IDs.
“We feel that Kentucky would be beneficial in moving to a centralized issuance of driver’s licenses and IDs in the state,” Kuhl said.
“By doing this at the circuit clerk offices they (Kentuckians) would be issued a temporary ID by either paper or later an optional mobile ID. The driver’s licenses are then delivered through the mail. Those cards are produced at a vendor’s location.”
Kuhl said the printers for the IDs are located in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
Issuing identification and licenses from a central location, Kuhl said the state would “get out of some security issues in a lot of circuit clerk facilities, “ and move the process from 141 locations throughout the state to one.
Currently, the renewable period for a Kentucky driver’s license is four years. Kuhl recommended the state extend the renewable period to every 8 years.
“So what’s it look like for Kentucky’s current citizens? We probably need further discussions about our citizens and whether or not they get to choose a whether they do a REAL ID or a non-REAL ID,” Kuhl said. “There’s some steps and processes that may interfere in the issuance, but we also would require all new drivers and all new citizens coming into the state to become REAL ID compliant.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will give at least a 120-day notice to U.S. citizens before it enforces REAL ID requirements to board federally regulated commercial aircraft.
If a citizen lives in a noncompliant state, they will have to produce an id or driver’s license accompanied by a passport or an enhanced driver’s license issued currently from Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Vermont.
Surrounding states Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia are REAL ID compliant. Kentucky has an extension until 2016 as does Missouri and Virginia.
The current price of a Kentucky license is $20 dollars. The largest chunk of the driver’s license fee, $13.60, goes to the state road fund. The Administrative Office of The Courts (AOC) receives $4.40, the county of origin receives 50 cents, driver education receives 50 cents and $1 goes toward processing the photo.
If the fee is increased to $50, a proposal that didn’t make some of the lawmakers happy, the state road fund would then receive $28 and the AOC would receive $10.
“Our proposal for going to an 8-year (renewal) that we go to a $50 fee,” Kuhl said. “For us to move forward, it’s going to take some legislative assistance.”
Kuhl said statutes would need to be changed in the upcoming 2016 legislative session including a possible reallocation of the fee distributions if the DMV doesn’t get additional funding.
“Realistically, it’s probably going to take us at least two years to implement a REAL ID,” Kuhl said. “If legislation is passed in 2016, it will take us about nine months or so to move with the qualifications and workflow. So, you are probably looking at early 2017 and two years from that to issue our first REAL IDs.”
By Brad Bowman
The State Journal