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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Lawmakers Consider Proposals To Offer REAL ID Drivers Licenses

Department of Homeland Security
Beginning in 2018, states must comply with the REAL ID act.

Lawmakers in Salem are considering a bill that would allow Oregonians to continue to use their driver's license to board airline flights next year.

Beginning in 2018, states must comply with the REAL ID act. The federal law requires states to beef up the security of their identity documents in order to access federal facilities and pass through airport security.

In 2009, Oregon lawmakers prohibited the Oregon DMV from complying with the REAL ID act unless federal funding paid for the higher security standards. With next January's deadline looming, Eastern Oregon Republican Sen. Bill Hansell wants to create a two-tier system of drivers licenses. He said one would comply with the REAL ID act, and one would not.

"I sort of envision it like a vanity license plate,” Hansell said. “If you want it, you can get it. You pay more for it and it's yours to use. That's sort of the same philosophy."

The Oregon DMV estimates the enhanced version of the drivers license would cost up to $20 more than the standard version.

The REAL ID compliant license would have a symbol on it to indicate it complies with the federal law.

If lawmakers don't act, and unless the federal government doesn't extend the deadline, then Oregonians would not be able to use their drivers license to board a domestic airline flight starting in January of next year. The TSA would continue to accept other forms of ID, including passports.