UPDATED! TSA Says It Will Stop Accepting Driver's Licenses From Nine States

Come January 10, travelers from Alaska, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Washington may be stranded.


TSA's Instagram feed

UPDATED on 12/30 at 9:45 A.M.: The Department of Homeland Security, which runs the TSA, says it will give at least 120 days notice before implementing REAL ID Act requirements. For more, go here.

The last time we took notice of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), it was to inform you that the unpopular, expensive, and ineffectual outfit had decided it could force travelers on domestic airline flights to go through full-body scanners. Previously, TSA had allowed folks to submit instead to a full-body pat-down.

Now comes even more troubling news. A decade ago, Congress passed The Real ID Act which was supposed to make it easier for law enforcement to share information on driver's licenses issued by the states and territories. Even during a period of heightened fear of terrorism, there was massive and continuing pushback because everyone realized that when the federal government (or any other centralized authority) concentrates information, it just makes it that much easier for it to get hacked or misused (here are 22.1 million examples of the former and one representative example of the latter). 

As Boing Boing notes, the feds quelled some of the rebellion by insisting that

compliance by states with the rules would be voluntary.

But they also threatened "consequences" for noncompliance. After a decade of state/fed jousting, the feds appear ready to visit some of those consequences upon the recalcitrant states: Alaska, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Washington (as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands). Previously, these states and territories had been granted exemptions to the Real ID requirements, but they expire on January 10, 2016 (less than two weeks from now), and the DHS has already refused to renew them for Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, and Washington and said they wouldn't renew it for other states.

A dozen states actually have laws banning their divisions of motor vehicles from complying with Real ID requirements, which means something's going to have to give in a few weeks' time.

Ars Technica reports

In some states, the reason for lack of compliance isn't incompetence or bungling, but active opposition. Missouri passed a law in 2009 forbidding state officials from implementing the law. The same year, Minnesota lawmakers not only barred implementation of Real ID but prohibited "preliminary measures like negotiations with federal officials related to the requirement," according to a report in last week's Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Some state lawmakers opposed Real ID because of privacy concerns, while others denounced the law as an "unfunded mandate" requiring states to change their licensing practices without providing any money to implement the changes.

It looks like 2016 is going to get off to a great start! Pro tip: If you're flying domestically, better pack your passport just in case (assuming those are still valid).

Below is Reason TV's playlist of TSA-themed videos. Laugh til you cry. Or get mauled by Bart, the cute TSA explosives-detection pooch pictured above (hover your cursor ove the image to get the lowdown on why he ended up chewing on Santa rather than a toothpaste tube filled with plastique).

NEXT: California Doesn't Need More Gun Laws: Senior Editor Brian Doherty in Orange County Register

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  1. Pro tip: If you’re flying domestically, better pack your passport just in case (assuming those are still valid).

    Pro tip: Most Americans don’t have one.

    1. That’s because Americans are stupid and don’t appreciate other cultures.

      /annoying progressive friend

      1. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoy traveling and basically want to assume the identity of Anthony Bourdain. But there is also enough to see in this country to fill a lifetime.

        1. Pitching for an early death of liver failure?

          1. /thinks about it….

            Worth it.

      2. Or because most of us can’t afford to travel out of state, much less jetting off for a fabulous weekend in Paris?

      3. Most AMERICANs don’t want to have to show “their papers” just to fly around the US. Especially because some fool states decided to hand out driver’s licenses to illegals and other foreigners. This entire TSA business has become a nightmare,that has done nothing towards real security.
        “Other cultures” has nothing to do with it. If you like “other cultures”,MOVE to one of them.

    2. Soon we’ll all have domestic passports. Progress!

      1. Except when we’re voting

        1. Well, duh. Preventing vote fraud is racist.

      2. “Papers, please.”

    3. This statistic comes up a lot as an example of lack of interest in international travel by Americans, but I don’t think it’s sustained at all. The most obvious difference between Americans and Europeans in this regard is that Americans can vacation for a lifetime in all sorts of different climates without ever needing a passport. Many European countries, in contrast, are no larger than a day’s drive in any given direction.

      But even if we leave that aside…

      “The percentage of Americans who have a valid passport, according to the most recent statistics issued by the State Department in January of 2014, is about 46%”

      Its true that “most” means 51% or greater, but this is really not that much of a point. 46% seems like a lot when you look at overall age of population?

      “People under 20 years of age made up over a quarter of the U.S. population (27.3%)” and “people age 65 and over made up one-eighth (12.8%) in 2009”

      27 + 13 = 40% seem to be in age cohorts which would have relatively little use for a passport versus those aged 20-65?

      etc. etc. etc.

      1. Children do travel with their parents on vacation. Retirees travel plenty.

      2. Another point which I believe gets overlooked in these statistics is the number of Americans who spent years in foreign countries but never had a passport due to being sent to those countries on military orders – mostly not to war zones.

    4. I serve the scratch Cyrillic Soviet Union! Internal passports it is. We already have Checkpoint Charlies posted between our ku-klux hinterlands and all ports of exit.

  2. Prediction: TSA backs down. For now.

    1. ^This. But the fedgov will give those states a year to up the standards of their ID’s. DMV’s will offer extended hours, still be overwhelmed and not improve customer service. Liberals will not bat an eye at the new requirement for travelers, but continue to whinge about all the poor (black) people are, somehow, unable to get to the DMV to get voter ID. Manufacturers of photo ID equipment will rejoice. The federal government will have effectively created yet another unfunded mandate on the states.

      1. You left out “relatives of TSA officials and congresspeople get rich investing in ID machine companies that are awarded no-bid contracts so states can comply.”

        1. Ah, you have the Illinois response already in mind!

  3. This ought to be good.

    I eagerly await the barrage of news stories when the first travelers get negged at the airport.

    1. I eagerly await the barrage of news stories when the first travelers get negged at the airport.

      Negged? Are TSA agents are going to start telling women that their pants make them look fat?

        1. Would that surprise you?

        2. “You can head on through, ma’am, your tits aren’t nice enough to warrant a pat-down”

          1. I larfed

      1. Forgive my ignorance of PUA slang. I humbly turn in my alpha male card.

        1. Oh no, you have given us a delightful little side bar here.

        2. You’re gonna have to give back the fuzzy top hat, too.

  4. Well, our options are:

    (1) State government backs down.

    (2) Federal agency backs down.

    (3) The little people suffer.

    I know which way I’m betting.

    1. 1?

      But seriously, #3 is going to make O’Hare a nightmare…. I can only hope our Chicago Donkey squad squawks enough at the Lightworker, to have him call off the TSA.

      1. Named after Edward O’Hare. Badass. And interestingly his dad was a lawyer for Al Capone.

        1. And IIRC, his kid burned to expunge that shame, and joined up to help do so.

    2. This sounds like, for once, an actual honest to Zod Commerce Clause violation.

      How are the jet-setting residents of these states going to be able to participate in commerce with other states, if they’re forbidden to fly?

      1. Of course SCOTUS would rule that the commerce cause gives the Feds the power to impose uniform ID requirements on the States.

      2. Good luck on individual citizens getting “standing” to sue over that.

      3. I’ve maintained from day one of this farce that this is a clear and outrageous violation of the first amendment clause “to peaceably assemble” on the grounds that assembly means you have to be able to get there.

        Freedom to move about without state hindrance. Read your passport and what it says (I don’t have mine here at the moment, so I’ll paraphrase) ‘allow this person to move about and depart your country when it is time’. Passports were issued by civilized countries (like the UK and US) so that a citizen traveling in a feudal society like Russia would not suddenly found himself bound to the land as a serf.

        Practically speaking, the requirement for a government ID to board a plane or boat means that residents of the states of Hawaii and Alaska can not even visit the lower 48 states without government approval.

        So glad we “won” the Cold War and the commie way of life didn’t take hold.

        1. Is this a good time to discuss my plan to euthanize al the progressives?

      4. Commerce Clause violation to require a REAL ID number? C’mon, goddammit, it says right in the Bible that the day will come when you can’t buy or sell lest you carry the mark of the beast – are you seriously suggesting the Constitution trumps the Bible? The government is just doing the Lord’s work in fulfilling the prophecies. Now let us go nuke the plain of Megiddo.

        1. Megatons for Megiddo?

          *slips out door and runs*

          1. I think it was Clint Eastwood.

  5. Wow, thanks TSA for promoting the safety of all Americans with this rational policy!

    I am so happy to live in a country where the federal government has the power to arbitrarily restrict its citizens movement.

    1. Not having basic freedoms is the price we pay for our freedom!

      1. Freedom is Slavery. Slavery is Freedom. Yessum Massa whatever you say.

      2. I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.

        It worked swimmingly before, why not again?

        1. I’m willimg to to take the reigns of control long enough to liquidate all the progs so things can be set right. After I’m done, I will relinquish control. In return for &0$10 billion and a Hawaiin island. Not the leper one.

  6. The elephant in the room is that the 9/11 terrorists bribed DMV personnel to obtain the licenses. They didn’t present any documentation except cash.

    1. Obviously, DMV employees are terribly underpaid, if they have to resort to accepting bribes.


    2. Virginia did change the issuance policy as a result. You apply locally, but the licenses are produced in one central facility and mailed, rather than created on site. I don’t think Real ID contains that requirement that would actually make obtaining real documents by bribery more difficult.

      1. Virginia also just scrapped its ban on smiling in DMV photos, because it turns out that not smiling in a DMV photo makes everyone look like a sex offender who hasn’t slept in days.

          1. It’s everybody. Seriously, my wife is gorgeous and doesn’t look a day over 21 in real life – but on her driver’s license she looks like she just got off of a 40-year meth binge. I’m no George Clooney but people don’t need to recoil when they see mine.

            1. Back when they told me “you can smile” while they took the driving license picture, I did not smile, stating “I don’t generally smile when someone demands my ID”.

              Now, I guess I’ll just have to start smiling, on general principles.

      2. IIRC there were also some instances of cleaning personnel having access to the equipment after-hours and using that to create IDs.

    3. The elephant in the room is that the 9/11 terrorists bribed DMV personnel to obtain the licenses.

      Srsly? Did that get coverage? Were there convictions?

      1. Try searching on “9/11 virginia dmv”.

      2. comskderimg how easy it is for illegals to get state issued DL’s now I’m not surprised someone figured out they aren’t worth shit for verifying anyone’s identity. Especially from faggot states like mine that are ruled by sanctuary city loving communist traitors

        1. So then no problem if you’re in one of the affected states. Just shop for a state or province that’ll service you.

      3. I lived in Virginia at the time. IIRC (and maybe I don’t) I thought it was that Virginia used to allow affidavits as proof of identity in lieu of documents, and although Va subsequently fixed that, it was one of the reasons for the Real ID Act .

  7. Finally, an issue where the states will dig in, perhaps ushering in a new age of respecting federalism.

    Hahahahahahahahaha!!! Whew…

  8. My license has changed the last 3 times it was issued. Holograms, magnetic stripe, and a whole bunch of other shit. Are you telling me that it’s still not good enough?

    1. Is there GPS tracking enabled RFID surgically implanted in your anus? If not, the answer is yes, it’s still not good enough

    2. The point of Real ID when it was originally passed was to make sure that IDs were based on valid documentation. Congress has no power to tell the states how to license their drivers, but those licenses have a second use as a defacto ID card, and the Feds can decide which IDs they will accept as legit when they are doing Fed things, such as letting people on an airplane.

      The argument was that if a state issues driver’s licenses, for example, to illegals who have little or no documentation, how can we trust that driver’s license to be used as ID?

      I’ve had bank tellers tell me, “I can’t user your driver’s license for ID because it’s expired” even though they were perfectly sure I was the person. The feds will be saying, “We can’t use your driver’s license for ID because you state has lax standards for issuing their licenses”

      1. Picky picky picky… be glad they didn’t have a trooper shoot you in the back and take a month off with pay.

    3. No. Democrats give ID’s to illegals with no real screening. So your ID isn’t worth shit. Nor is mine.

      1. Maybe if enough illegals are unable to fly back to Mexico, the liberals will finally start whining that the megastate they always dreamed of is too big.

        1. Yes,because illegals utilize airlines in droves.

          Don’t you know that the progtards import them for the specific purposes of cleaning our toilets and illegal voting for democrat candidates? They’re an imported de facto slave class. Not equals.

    4. Brazil’s Abeiterpartei (Workers Party) politicians had the brilliant idea of importing Syrians wholesale. One such enterprising transplant geared up a wholesale ID counterfeiting racket–birth certificates, dole cards, drivers licenses–even voter registration cards that entitle the bearer to run for office. A number of them are now circulating abroad on forged Brazilian passports. The Transport Sozialist Arbeiterpartei is doubtless aware of this even if teevee vidiots aren’t.

  9. I’d say I hope the States sue and the Feds to court, but it probably wouldn’t make any difference.

    1. Right… in their courts… Lysander Spooner, 1870, wrote “If, in defending his property, he should kill any of our band who are assisting you, capture him at all hazards; charge him (in one of our courts) with murder, convict him, and hang him.”

      1. … in both their ear holes with a bent-up, rusty fork and a shit covered, bowie knife respectively.

  10. The noncompliant states total about 87 million in population, so this should be interesting indeed.

    1. California and NJ, in particular, carry a lot of weight. Hmmm, maybe they will be dumb enough to carry through on this during an election year.

    2. If the LP has candidates there…

  11. It seriously blows my mind that after nearly 15 years of this nonsense there’s no serious political discussion about abolishing the TSA. Like, on some level I get it, a lot of people are easily cowed by irrational fears of terrorism, but I can’t understand how any reasonable person who has gone through security at an airport recently can actually believe “this is a good and efficient system that actively works to keep people safe”.

    1. No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!

      Ronald Reagan

    2. Why do you hate public safety?

      Do you now or have ever harbored terrorist thoughts?

    3. Because the first time any Congresscritter of any note proposes a bill to abolish or even limit the TSA, Peter King and Co. will bray about terrorism. And the first time such a bill ever gains any traction, an angry Muslim twenty-something will get picked in an FBI sting for making threats to bomb an airport, thus necessitating increased TSA funding. I’d say that the TSA would miraculously stop him but the odds are he’d actually manage to get through.

    4. The bulk of the support for the TSA comes from non-flyers, who don’t care if you are ever allowed to fly. It was reported here. Like the 47%.

  12. I can’t imagine the economic impact this will have. How many people will be unable to do their jobs?

    This government is increasingly acting against the interests of the country and its citizens, becoming more and more dysfunctional. Has there ever been a study of how as government becomes increasingly large and complex at some point it begins to subvert the very goals it purports to seek? (EPA poisoning water, TSA killing airline industry, etc etc.)

    1. Passports aren’t that hard to obtain if you have some warning. I used to use one to fly all the time in the states because I didn’t get a driver’s license until I was 18.

      1. Most people don’t have one.

        And fuck that. I’m not carrying a passport to fly inside my own country.

        1. The Tsar is unhappy with you.

        2. Get a non-driver’s license. But if your state uses the same standard for those as for driver’s licenses, you’re SOL.

          Are Medicaid cards acceptable? On an I-9 they’re proof of both ID & eligibility to work.

      2. Passports aren’t that hard to obtain if you have some warning.

        They’re very expensive, and I never have that much warning for a business trip.

        1. Very expensive? I wouldn’t call $100 for 10 years very expensive.

      3. “Passports aren’t that hard to obtain if you have some warning.”

        bullshit. takes months.

      4. A family of four might disagree – the passport cost might be over $400.

      5. If you consider several months adequate warning, I suppose you’re right. For me, adequate warning is something more along the lines of two weeks, but YMMV.

      6. They aren’t “hard’ to obtain. However, if they abruptly make this a requirement, the backlog will take months to resolve. Just like when it became a requirement to have a passport or enhanced DL to go to Canada. The backlog created up to a 90 turnaround time in some places. See how that goes over when people need to fly somewhere on a specific timetable.

        Hilarity will ensue.

        1. “Abruptly”? Dude, this has been in the pipe for ten years now. States have literally had a decade to make this a non-issue.

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for bashing the TSA most days. But acting like they’re the bad guys here is a bit silly.

    2. What do you mean subvert? I can’t think of any way to be much safer from a repeat 9/11 than if the TSA destroys the airline industry.

    3. Suthenboy, the EPA is ALREADY poisoning water, or was that sarc?

    4. The study resulted in the Laffer Curve. We were above that threshold when Calvin Coolidge was president and the budget was close to four billion gold dollars, roughly 4% of GNP before Herbert Hoover went on his mission to use the IRS enforce Sharia law on Americans.

  13. This won’t happen on January 10. I don’t care what the threat is right now, this is too big of a political deal for it to actually happen. My bet it, “suspending the suspension and the states have 1 year to fall in line.” Then they fall in line.

    1. Well, yeah. “120 days from when we say go” is close enough to 1 year. What do I win?

      UPDATED on 12/30 at 9:45 A.M.: The Department of Homeland Security, which runs the TSA, says it will give at least 120 days notice before implementing REAL ID Act requirements.

    2. The REAL ID Act was signed into law in 2005. All the delays since then have been to give the states time to “fall in line”. You really think *another* delay is going to convince them to finally comply?

  14. Fun Fact: Federal government employee IDs are accepted by TSA as a valid form of ID for boarding. Wonder how it will play in podunk if the little people find their masters have screwed them over while taking care of themselves?

    1. Like they did with Obamacare ?

  15. Sanctuary states are not going to segregate their drivers licenses by immigration status

  16. Screw it. I haven’t flown in years, and don’t intend to change that policy now. My current license doesn’t expire until ’18. We’ll see what happens then.

  17. None are swing states, thus the Feds win hands down

  18. This will not fly, no pun intended. The TSA does not have authority to do it, period. Fuck them.

  19. You don’t need a driver’s license for ID to board a plane: http://www.ifly.com/airport-identification

    I’ll just use my CCW permit. In fact, given the ease with which one can get a Florida CCW permit – you don’t need to be a Florida resident – I recommend that everyone in the affected states get one.

    1. Nope

      “A weapon permit is not an acceptable form of identification.”

  20. I’m flying in 30 days and I live in Minnesota so it’s my passport or my family doesn’t get on the plane to see Mickey Mouse…still, it’s BS that I need to use an international travel document to freely travel within my own country.

  21. My wife, infant daughter, and myself just flew to Houston and back to visit family outside Shreveport. Long story short, I’ve decided that, from now on, we’re driving whenever possible. We’ve even got a camper we can use until we can afford a decent entry-level RV. This is based on a combination of things. To be fair, part of it is the general shittiness of Southwest Airlines, although I suppose you get what you pay for, but the meaningless bullshit hassle of dealing with the TSA is just too much.

    As I move through my thirties, I find my ability to control my temper is actually decreasing, while the number of things which piss me off increases steadily. And frankly, the thought that my taxes are going to pay for make-work glorified mall cops whose sole purpose is to see just how many ridiculous hoops they can make a person jump through to travel is infuriating.

    We all know that TSA checkpoints have absolutely no real impact on security, but because of 9/11 nobody dares question its necessity. The TSA will be here until enough people stop flying in protest.

    1. I too find it increasingly difficult to restrain my rage in dealing with the general public. Probably why I turn down most referrals from my regular clients. I carefully screen anyone I’m going to be dealing for any length of time to make sure I can tolerate their shit.

    2. People question the TSA’s effectiveness constantly. I travel a lot and I hear TSA agents complaining about the regulations and bullshit that they have to apply to the public. I’ve had TSA agents apologize to me and my traveling companions because we got selected for the touchy-feely game based on the speed we were ready for the scanners (when you travel 2x a week for 3 years, you get a knack for going through the motions. Who woulda thunk it?). Apparently, it was a supervisor’s idea and he started a “pilot program” in that airport.

      The only ones that don’t question the TSA is the government. Any branch or level of government.

  22. TSA has no legal authority to do anything of the kind. If they actually try pulling this shit, they might find themselves thrown out of nine states’ airports.


    1. No legal authority to ask for an ID or no legal authority to judge that some state’s driver’s licenses are inadequate ID? (The 2nd question has already been decided by Congress in the Real ID Act)

    2. What a shame that would be…
      Stock in hemorrhoid salve companies would plummet through the floor.

  23. I’d like to know more about these airline- & airport-issued IDs. Are they just for their own personnel, or do they issue them as a service for their passengers on request?

  24. Reason’s own source is Ars and Ars says, “However, any restrictions on air travel won’t go into place without at least 120 days’ notice, and no state has received such a notice yet. In several states, however, restrictions on entering federal buildings could kick in as early as January 10.”

    Looks to me like Reason Mag didn’t do a good job.

    1. The Transport Sozialist Arbeiterpartei, on the other hand, does a bang-up job.

  25. So, strike another thing the US has that China doesn’t.

  26. Is this related to the fact that the IRS was recently granted authority to revoke passports, or am I being cynical?

    link at forbes

    Good thing the IRS would never target anyone for political purposes.

  27. I’ve often felt the government would like to stop all people from traveling. first this license issue and soon with upcoming limiting travel due to climate change credits. its a plan to keep us in our own states so we can’t see how bad the rest are getting.

    1. They certainly want to make it easier to track our movements. Restricting air travel and making it more difficult to own and operate cars are the best way for them to accomplish that.

  28. Let’s call the TSA’s bluff. Everyone in those nine states should just stop flying.
    Let’s see how long it takes for congress to reverse the TSA’s decision.

  29. I’d like to point out that WA state EDL’s do comply with the Real ID act.

  30. TSA is an organization not worthy of a first world country. I am not sure how a first world country like USA ever create a shitty system like TSA.

  31. This is wonderful news! Now perhaps we can rid the nation entirely of the Transport Sozialist Arbeiterpartei and the looter politicians that set them to searching our intestines for assets to forfeit.

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  34. Most airports are run either by municipalities or by state (or multi-state) agencies. Please explain why the governor of a state can’t simply issue an executive order barring the TSA from entering an airport, and enforce it using either state police or national guard.

  35. Thick German Accent : ” Papers please.”

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