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FAIRBANKS – Governor Bill Walker Friday signed House Bill 16 into law, allowing the state to begin the process of issuing Real ID-compliant forms of identification. This legislation gives Alaskans the option to obtain federally compliant identification; it is not mandatory. Without the legislation, Alaskans would have been denied entry into most airports, military bases and federal facilities without a passport or other acceptable form of documentation.
“Alaskans no longer have to wonder if their travel plans or ability to work will be in jeopardy,” Governor Walker said. “This legislation balances compliance with federal law with the privacy concerns that some have noted by giving Alaskans the choice of having a Real ID-compliant license. The Department of Administration will move quickly to ensure that there are no disruptions in the everyday lives of our citizens. I thank the House and Senate for passing this critical legislation.”
In October, the state was advised by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that Alaska would no longer receive waivers that had previously allowed the Division Motor Vehicles to avoid complying with the law, and that enforcement of the Real ID Act of 2005 would begin on June 6 of this year.
The legislation also seeks to improve communication and interactions between police officers and those with non-apparent disabilities. HB 16 allows Alaskans to designate on a driver’s license or identification card that the carrier has a medically verified disability. This designation option will be available in late August. The law also requires training for police and village safety officers to recognize disabilities, and instructs officers on appropriate conduct when engaging with those with disabilities.