The state has until Aug. 1 to be compliant with the 2005 Real ID Act, but according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, an enforcement deadline doesn't kick in until October 2020.

by Austin Ramsey, Messenger-Inquirer / April 17, 2019
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(TNS) — State transportation officials are delaying a rollout of Kentucky's REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses for a third time, saying they are at the end stages of testing the system before pilot programs begin in Woodford and Franklin counties this spring.

After the commonwealth was granted an extension on implementing the federal post-9/11 identification system in October, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet first said it would begin pilot programs in select counties at the beginning of 2019 but pushed that deadline to April in order to work out kinks regulators said they had found in technology supporting the new IDs.

Now, KYTC says new IDs won't be made available to all 120 Kentucky counties until the end of the summer.

"The internal testing phase did exactly what it was designed to do -- verify what works and reveal gaps that need to be addressed before introducing the system to circuit court clerk offices," said Department of Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Matt Henderson in a statement Monday. "We're pleased with the positive results that have confirmed that the majority of the new system is operational. While we targeted April to begin the in-office pilot testing, additional time is necessary to retest system patches that are released when flaws are identified. Our unwavering commitment is to deliver a fully functional program to counties, and that requires flexibility. Everyone is engaged to make the new cards available as soon as possible."

The state's card vendor is working to resolve challenges related to complex license endorsements and features, such as combination licenses, according to a KYTC release.

Daviess County's Circuit Court Clerk's Office was initially expected to roll out the new credentials late last month. In January, Circuit Court Clerk Jennifer Hardesty Besecker said the KYTC would help install new equipment in her office and train employees to begin issuing new standard or voluntary travel IDs.

"We will receive newer, modern equipment to quickly process the required documentation, and applicants will be using touchpads to verify personal information such as addresses and (the) spelling of their names," she said. "I have three employees, plus myself, who will receive training through the (KYTC) in Frankfort as well as regional training."

Kentucky has until Aug. 1 to be compliant with the 2005 Real ID Act, but according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, an enforcement deadline doesn't kick in until October 2020, meaning current licenses can still be used to board domestic flights, visit military institutions or enter nuclear power facilities at least until that time.

Current driver's licenses that don't expire until after the 2020 deadline can still be used to drive, but they won't be accepted when boarding flights or visiting restricted federal facilities. For that, users will have to present another REAL ID-compliant form of identification like a passport, or they may upgrade their current license to a voluntary travel ID with their current expiration date for a prorated fee if they bring in the correct documentation and sit for a new photo.

Once the statewide rollout reaches Daviess and the surrounding counties, the cost of a new standard driver's license will be $43 and a new voluntary travel ID will run $48, but both forms of ID won't expire for another eight years.

©2019 the Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Ky.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.