REAL ID Issue in Pennsylvania Affects Businesses and Travelers

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is closely following Real ID legislation that could affect Pennsylvania businesses and travelers as early as Wednesday, June 7.  Our staff has reached out to several state lawmakers urging them to support a legislative fix.

The Commonwealth needs legislation in place by early June to show the federal government that it is making a good faith effort to comply with the federal REAL ID Act.  The REAL ID Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005, requires changes to state standards for the issuance of driver’s licenses and identification cards, if they are to be accepted as identity documents by the federal government.

Pennsylvania does not currently meet these federal standards. The state has been granted an extension until Tuesday, June 6,  from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to comply.

While residents will not need an alternative form of federally-approved identification for air travel until Monday, January 22, 2018, they will need a federally-approved form of identification to access federal buildings, nuclear power plants and military bases beginning on June 7, unless another extension is granted by DHS.

The federal REAL ID Act contains access restrictions phased in over a period time for holders of non-REAL ID driver’s licenses and identification cards, unless a state has been issued an extension. Phases 1, 2 and 3 have  been initiated by DHS and will become effective for citizens of the Commonwealth on June 7.

Legislative effort to correct this issue in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is likely to get a final vote during the week of May 22, according to House Majority Leader Dave Reed, (R-Indiana County).  The Pennsylvania Senate has already passed its own version of relief and concurrence would be necessary if the House passes a different bill before the governor can sign.

The Chamber will continue to update its members as developments take place.