Federal extension keeps ME licenses valid as federal ID

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This means residents of the state will not face access issues at federal facilities through that date.

Gordon added the federal government has assured Minnesota, the governor's office, and others that as long as progress towards compliance is made, extensions will be granted.

"According to (U.S. Department of Homeland Security), during this grace period, federal agencies will continue to accept driver's licenses and identification cards issued by states with pending extensions", said Sam Fettig, Gov. Mark Dayton's spokesman.

PennDOT submitted an extension request to DHS in early September and is now awaiting DHS response.

PennDOT has started work on implementing REAL ID.

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The Real ID Act set national standards to improve the security of state-issued identification to prevent undocumented immigrants and terrorists from obtaining US driver's licenses. Before applying for REAL ID certification, DOR needs to update its computer systems, formally establish policies for the optional program and train its employees and contractors. The law passed in 2005 seeks to improve security standards for state-issued identification credentials.

Missouri has been among a handful of holdouts to the REAL ID Act of 2005, which Congress passed in the wake of terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Rep. Dennis Smith, R-Maple Grove, the author of that bill, said state officials hope the federal government will eventually grant an extension through October 2020.

The federal government is not checking for Real ID-compliant licenses until January 22, 2018. It expects to begin issuing the new licenses in October 2018.

That law gives the ME secretary of state's office until July 1, 2019, to meet the requirements of Real ID, according to Kristen Muszynski, a spokeswoman for Dunlap.

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