Louisiana residents might need official documents for air travel in the new year
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
Routine air travel as we know it
could soon change for Louisiana residents.
"If I said real ID act to you
would you know what I'm talking about? No. I never heard of it."
"How did this happen, when did it
happen, I know nothing about it."
Because Louisiana licenses are
currently not in full compliance with the act, official government documents
like passports would be required beginning January 15 of 2013.
"We get multiple calls every
Jim Caldwell is Baton Rouge Metro
Airport's public relations manager and says he understands concern over the
need for a passport but adds as of now, there is still no definitive answer.
"Unfortunately, we can't really
give an answer beyond what we stated before that we're hopeful an extension
will be granted but we don't know at this time," said Caldwell.
Louisiana's decision to opt out
of the federal government's Real ID Act dates back to 2008 and legislators say
it was simply a matter of control and privacy.
"There was so much unknown with
the original act that was passed by congress and there were a number of states
that said we aren't going to do this and subject our residents to this and then
also additional costs not provided for by the federal government," said State
Representative Hunter Greene
According to U.S. Senators David
Vitter and Mary Landrieu, Louisiana is in compliance with most of the Real ID Act's requirements and is currently working with the Department of Homeland
Security to approve its status but either way, State Representative Greene says
there is no reason to panic.
"What I'm being told is that
everyone will be able to fly even if you don't have a passport. It's just it may
take longer if you don't have a passport," added Greene.