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Government and Politics

Oregon Gets Another Real ID Extension, But For How Long?

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Department of Homeland Security
File photo. Regular driver's licenses from Oregon and Washington will be valid for boarding flights until at least January 2018.

Oregonians will be able to use their drivers licenses to enter federal buildings until at least next June. That's because of an extension granted by the U.S. government this week.

Oregon licenses do not meet security guidelines spelled out in the federal Real ID Act. In 2009, state lawmakers called that law an unfunded mandate and refused to comply. That means eventually, Oregon drivers licenses won't be valid for entering secure federal buildings such as courthouses and military facilities.

That deadline has been pushed back to June of next year, thanks to the latest in a series of postponed deadlines.

But a separate deadline might trip up Oregonians boarding a flight: If the state doesn't act and no further extensions are granted, an Oregon license won't be good for air travel starting in January 2018. Travelers will have to use another form of ID such as a passport.

The extension until next June would give Oregon lawmakers enough time to approve legislation to fund the enhanced security measures spelled out in the Real ID act. But no such measures appear to be in the pipeline.

In Washington state, most drivers licenses are already invalid for use at federal facilities, including military installations. That's because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has not issued that state any more extensions to comply. Washington does issue so-called "Enhanced Driver Licenses" which are valid for federal ID purposes, but most drivers there have the standard version.

Both varieties of Washington licenses will be valid for boarding flights until at least January 2018, when the stricter requirements for airport security are due to take effect.