Minnesota gets another Real ID extension

Federal officials said Wednesday that they have granted Minnesota another extension for Real ID enforcement.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified the state that it now has until Oct. 10, 2018, to fully comply with the federal Real ID law. The previous extension recently expired, although the state remained covered under a temporary grace period.

Minnesota needs the extra time to implement stricter security standards for state-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards, which were authorized in legislation enacted earlier this year.

“All Minnesotans should be assured that they can continue to board commercial airplanes and access federal facilities with their existing Drivers Licenses or Birth Certificates, as we work to fully implement REAL ID and comply with federal requirements,” Gov. Mark Dayton said

The extension will prevent Minnesotans from running into problems when the next phase of Real ID enforcement begins at airports on Jan. 22.

State Rep. Dennis Smith, R-Maple Grove, also responded to the extension.

Smith noted that the implementation legislation he sponsored last session relies on the state’s new licensing and registration computer system, known as MNLARS. The system has experienced numerous problems in its first few months of operation.

“Focus now shifts to the troubled MNLARS system to ensure the implementation of the REAL ID law moves forward and a REAL ID is in the hand of any Minnesotan who wants one,” Smith said.