North Country Sen. Joseph Griffo says DMV needs to comply with new federal ID requirements
North Country Senator Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, is urging the state Department of Motor Vehicle’s compliance with new federal ID requirements following New York’s one-year extension to comply with new federal ID license requirements.
“I am pleased to hear that New York has been given one more year to comply with the federal Real ID law that will one day require state residents to have enhanced driver’s licenses in order to take a flight or enter a federal building,” Griffo said.Griffo represents the 47th Senate District. It includes a swath running through the middle of St. Lawrence County, from Massena to Fine, including Potsdam.
This federal security requirement was passed 10 years ago, yet the state Department of Motor Vehicles has done nothing in the meantime to inform the public about these upcoming changes and let residents know what they need to do in order to comply with these requirements. Without this extension, many unwitting state residents ran the risk of finding themselves inconvenienced at the last minute as they attempt to board flights without the proper license, birth certificate or passport.
“There was more than enough time for the DMV to prepare state residents for this license requirement, yet the DMV dropped the ball on this one,” Griffo said.
New York is one of only five states or territories in the U.S. that hasn’t complied with this federal law.
“That is why, as a member of the Senate’s Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, I have co-sponsored legislation in the Senate that would direct the State DMV Commissioner to immediately comply with federal law and issue the proper ID licenses at no additional cost to New York residents. In August, I also wrote a letter to the State DMV Commissioner expressing my concerns and disappointment, while asking the department to voluntarily comply with the law before the end of this year,” he said.
Griffo says that New York has been given more time to address this issue in a way that should have been done a long time ago.
“Now, it is important for the DMV to expeditiously take every step necessary to inform the public regarding this requirement and to make clear what licenses will be acceptable forms of identification. And if every resident will need to obtain a new enhanced driver’s license, they should not be burdened with any additional out-of-pocket cost to comply with this long-anticipated requirement,” Griffo said.
Below is the text from a letter Senator Griffo sent the DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner on Aug. 26:
“Dear Commissioner Egan,
In approximately four months, citizens throughout the United States will be required to provide an identification to board aircraft for domestic flights that is compliant with the REAL ID Act of 2005. Currently, New York is one of only five states or territories, which includes American Samoa, Louisiana, Minnesota and New Hampshire, that is non-compliant with this federal law.
The fact that 46 other states, the District of Columbia and four of our nation’s five territories can either comply with this federal regulation or appeal to the government for an extension while New York does nothing for its residents is unacceptable. What is even more troubling is that the Department isn’t even informing the public about this act and what steps they need to take in order to comply with these regulations themselves.
In fact, a simple search of the REAL ID Act on the DMV’s website reveals zero information about the law. It would be problematic to assume that New Yorkers are aware of how to comply with a law that was enacted 10 years ago and is just now being fully implemented and could significantly inconvenience them as they attempt to travel. Also, New York should not be issuing the only form of identification (the enhanced driver’s license) that is compliant with the Act to residents at an additional charge of $30.
I am co-sponsoring legislation (S. 5842) with Senator Tom Croci that would force the Department of Motor Vehicles to not only comply with this federal regulation, but to do so at no additional cost to New Yorkers.
However, even if we were to successfully enact legislation that forced the DMV into compliance with this law it would come about after New Yorkers are already forced to either carry their standard license and birth certificate, their passport, or voluntarily incur the added expense of purchasing an enhanced driver license just to board a plane for a domestic flight, or worse, unwittingly be denied the right to board a plane for their vacation or business trip.
That is why I am calling on you and your department to voluntarily comply with this law before the end of the year for the benefit of all New Yorkers, at no additional cost.
I would appreciate a response indicating how the DMV plans to deal with this issue and potential problem.
Joseph A. Griffo
Senator, 47th District”