South Carolina residents may be able to enter federal buildings, military bases, and board airplanes in the coming months, in accordance with a state-administered federal identification law.
On Thursday, the House voted 100 to 3 to comply with the 2005 federal REAL ID law, which mandates access to electronic data sharing among states’ motor vehicle databases.
Implementation would cost the state nearly $1.7 million for advertising and new cameras needed at approximately 65 Department of Motor Vehicles locations statewide.
The legislature in 2007 passed a law saying the state would not comply with the federal law.
But state officials have since sought extensions to work toward compliance.
The DMV in 2010 began collecting information required under the law from applicants for new licenses. Their information will be in the shared state database whether they choose a federally complaint license or not, according to critics of the bill.
Under the federal law, drivers are required to provide the DMV with documentation proving their identity. The law also requires that credentialed licenses be tamper-proof and contain machine-readable technology.
Rep. Katie Arrington, R-Summerville, said the state’s non-compliance prevented her from using her existing security clearance to do her job on a recent out-of-state business trip.
Arrington is Vice President of sales operations for the cyber security firm, Dispersive Technologies—a Georgia-based defense contractor.
Libertarian-leaning representatives said implementation of the law would threaten citizens’ privacy and do nothing to thwart terrorism—one of the aims of the law.
Even though new licensees since 2010 could technically opt out, their personal information would still be in a database, those representatives said.
Only 25 states and the District of Columbia are fully compliant with the federal law, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Twenty-five other states and U.S. territories—including South Carolina—have obtained an extension. Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana and Washington are not compliant with the law.
Licensees who reject the federal ID card may still board an airplane with an alternate ID, such as a passport. The state-issued federal ID card, which will still look like a South Carolina driver’s license marked with a gold star, will be required to enter federal buildings and military bases.
Representatives Bill Chumley, of Woodruff, Jonathon Hill, of Townville, and Josiah Magnuson, of Campobello—all Upstate Republicans—voted against the bill.