The executive director of the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) told a state Senate panel Wednesday that if the state does not comply with the federal Real ID Act, it could be “problematic.”
Kevin Shwedo told senators that things are okay for now thanks to a federal extension until June 6, but that could soon change. “No issues right now, unless we do not get the legislation that removes South Carolina from the will not comply with the Real ID Act,” said Shwedo.
The reason for the post-9/11 legislation was to streamline state driver’s license requirements and create secure, modern identification consistent across the country, which links the information used by residents when they apply for the cards.
The changes have faced stiff resistance in South Carolina. A state law was passed prohibiting compliance with the 2005 requirements. Legislators, led by then-Gov. Mark Sanford, had concerns the Real ID standards required too much personal information and set up national ID cards rather than state ones.
But South Carolina’s lack of compliance means its state-issued ID will not be accepted at federal facilties like military bases once the extension expires in June. Starting in January 2018, South Carolina’s IDs would no longer be accepted at airport security lines.
Shwedo said, even if legislation is approved for compliance, the first new driver licenses issued would take a while. “Will probably be available not earlier than October 1 this year,” Shwedo said.
He told the Senate Transportation Committee that once legislation is passed, there is an absolute deadline for the state to have the new driver licenses issued. “We’ve got until September 30th, 2020 to get every citizen in this state that wants a compliant card a compliant card.”
Not everyone with a driver license or state-issued ID will be forced to get a new card. Only individuals who need to go to federal buildings or military installations or anyone wanting to fly without a passport would need one. Out-of-state residents who have gotten a South Carolina ID since 2010 have also already submitted the required information that their cards would be compliant.