OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – One of the major topics of 2015 was Oklahoma getting an extension from the Federal Government to meet the requirement of the REAL ID Act that was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005.
Governor Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced that Oklahoma had received an extension through October 10, 2016, to meet the requirements of the Act.
Fallin stated at that time that, “… I will work this legislative session with the Legislature, DPS, Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation and the Department of Homeland Security on a permanent solution.”
Several meetings have taken place to study the issue and another one has been announced to take place this Tuesday, January 5 at 10am in Room 206 at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
The meeting is being called again by state Rep. Bob Cleveland, and Rep. Lewis Moore to discuss actions about REAL ID here at the Oklahoma state level. There will be discussion regarding their proposed Oklahoma legislation. They hope to have some additional information from the Homeland Security Department as well.
Exclusive to FortySix News readers we are providing the transcript of the REAL ID Study “Questions and Answers” segment of the meeting that took place at the Oklahoma State Capitol on November 18, 2015 at 9am in Room 206.
Several major things discovered in the transcripts below:
- The question was asked multiple times – How does this improve safety? No real coherent answer was ever given.
- During the discussion the question was asked about the Dictator Clause in the REAL ID Act when the answer never happened due to an alarm that went off at the state capitol making everyone evacuate. When the session resumed the question was never brought up again. The Dictator Clause allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to arbitrarily add anything to the list of official purposes that require a person to produce a REAL ID. Things that have already been suggested recently are guns and ammo.
- The extension to be able to get onto an aircraft really was set till 2020, but could be changed to an earlier date at the discretion of the Director of Homeland Security.
Those who are referenced below in the transcript are state Rep. Bobby Cleveland, Slaughterville-20 (R); state Rep. Lewis Moore, Edmond-96 (R); state Sen. Corey Brooks, Washington-43 (R); Jeff Hankins, Director of Driver License Services; Michael Thompson, Commissioner of Oklahoma Department of Public Safety; Joey Magana, Field Rep. for Congressman Steve Russell; former state Rep. Charles Key; Kaye Beach; Howard Houchen; David Brook.
Chairman Cleveland: “Well, we’ll open it up for questions. Do we have any questions from our Senators? Yes sir. You are recognized.”
Senator ?: “Thank you Mr. Chairman. Commissioner, the statement that was made that this is voluntary, and not a mandate and it’s a voluntary law, would you please comment on that?”
Commissioner Thompson: “My comment on that is that sir I don’t see this as voluntary. I see it as a requirement by the federal government for us to comply with. And too, and I didn’t say this, you just triggered a thought I had sir, glad you gave me the opportunity. We at DPS are working on the final details on this plan as to how we move forward if we are given the green light to move forward. I really believe that, we at DPS, have the ability to offer an ID that is not compliant with the REAL ID Act and an ID that is compliant with the REAL ID Act. So if a person, members of my own family, have no interest in traveling or frequenting a federal building, if they want to go and get a non-compliant REAL ID, we are going to give them that choice to do that so, the opposite of that is forcing everyone to not even have that choice, so, that is kind of what I think.”
Chairman Cleveland: “Follow up.”
Rep. Moore: “Thank you Mr. Chairman. In a brief, brief statement how is this REAL ID going to make me safer, me and my family safer? I’m no threat and how is this going to make the traveling public or the citizens of Oklahoma safer than they are today?”
Commissioner Thompson: “Very briefly, because I know you have a lot of questions, the whole goal, as I understand it, and I’m not as well-versed as some folks in the room, but the whole goal is to have a secure driver’s license, and I want to say publicly, that Oklahoma has a very secure driver’s license, and I appreciate folks already acknowledging that point.
At the end of the day, sir, if you are giving your driver’s license to a law enforcement officer, or a potential landlord, or a loan officer, I want that person who holds that ID with the state of Oklahoma that we issued, to have full confidence that you are the person exactly presenting them that driver’s license.
And just a quick point, this issue about biometric ID’s, we’ve always had a biometric ID, its sexy now, it’s a buzzword to talk about biometrics but we’ve always had biometrics for the last fifty years. So I’m struggling to figure out …why such an interest now? Always.”
Chairman Cleveland: “You know, I was in a conference a couple of weeks ago and talking with some other state legislators, and they said that Oklahoma, and I don’t know how they know this, I have no idea, they said our driver’s license in Oklahoma is one of the most secure driver’s license in the nation. If that’s true what makes us better than other states?”
Commissioner Thompson: “Because sir, people like Jeff Hankins and Steve Chrise, who have worked so hard to keep pace with the best practices and industry standards, not violating the law that Mr. Key and everyone passed and voted for, but just in terms of being consistent with best practices out there where making changes that gives us a more secure driver license. So when I hear people say our driver’s license isn’t secure that’s not accurate. The thing, the biggest thing that’s keeping the state of Oklahoma from being a REAL ID compliant the major thing, is the 2007 law.”
Chairman Cleveland: “Follow up question for you. One of the things that does concern me is about the REAL ID is “the Dictator Clause’ can you assure us that the federal government….”
At this point the Capitol sirens went off and everyone is forced to evacuate the building. The meeting did resume and the question that Chairman Cleveland asked about “the Dictator Clause” was never answered or brought up again.
Chairman Cleveland: “We are going to get started again. Before we try to get into the questions again, what we are going to do is hear from Joey Magana, Steve Russell’s field representative, about what the federal delegation has done based on our conversations with the federal government.”
Joey Magana: “I have just a few things to add…obviously Steve started in office in January so this is fairly new to us. We signed a delegation letter and I’m going to pass around. It basically says that the delegation, the federal delegation, has concerns about what they are asking for and how much time it will take and that we want to give the states more time to come up with a plan of what they are going to do, whether they were going to comply or not. There’s another letter that the Homeland Security wrote back to the delegation basically saying that we will give more time and that was the one year extension.
The one year extension is actually for federal buildings. We are actually given five years for aircraft. So until the year 2020, that’s how much time the state will have before they start implementing to get on board an aircraft.
There’s also, this is all on the transportation end, Homeland Security website, there’s also a list of, in the year 2020, if they’re not compliant, what will be okay to use as a form of ID and I’ll pass that around as well.
But that’s what I wanted to add, just that Congressman Russell is looking into the issue to see what we can do on the federal side but also what you guys can do on the state side as well.”
Chairman Cleveland: “Thank you. That clarifies some. I didn’t know we had till 2020 for the driver’s license.”
Howard Houchen: “Can I ask you a question, and correct me if I’m wrong, I sometimes I don’t hear that well, did you say did you say also other than the 2020 deadline for the aircraft that they were also going to offer other forms of identification that could be taken beyond that date? Are there other options?”
Joey Magana: “Right, so, when 2020 hits state is not compliant, the list I just passed around, are forms of ID that can be used to board an aircraft.”
Howard Houchen: “From 2020 onward if you don’t have a REAL ID? So, a passport is not a 100% mandated requirement to fly on a plane after 2020? There are other forms, is that correct?”
Joey Magana: “Correct.”
Howard Houchen: “Thank you.”
Chairman Cleveland: “Do we have any other questions on this issue, for the representative from Congressman Russell’s office?”
Senator Brooks: “Does it specifically say 2020 in here?”
Joey Magana: “In the letter that you have, it does not, but I didn’t bring the statement where they said 2020 but I can provide that later”
Senator Brooks: “OK”
Chairman Cleveland: “I will recognize Rep. Lewis Moore.”
Rep. Moore: “Thank you for being here. I want to ask, is this an issue that Congress is going to take up again? Can we have further clarification from them and even if they did want to do that, …I don’t know that that would be considered to be constitutional so maybe that’s why they are going to the state to try to have them implement it from the state up rather than from the federal government down. Then, from the federal government’s perspective …how is this making us safer, by implementing the REAL ID?
In light of all the security measured that have already been put into place, is this going to remove some of those so it’s going to be more convenient to fly because of the safeguard of the REAL ID is going to make us safer so we don’t need to check for larger bottles of shampoo, take your shoes off and get a pat down and that kind of thing. That’s the kind of questions my constituents are asking.”
Joey Magana: “So as far as will congress take it up again, I don’t believe so. And the reason for the law back in 2005, again before Steve [Russell] was obviously there, was because of the terrorists on 911 had fake documents that they used, so this is to try to prevent that. Again, I don’t foresee them taking it up. I think that after passing that law… not speaking for the former congress but they left it up to the states to comply, if they didn’t comply with the REAL ID aspect of these forms of ID would work.”
Rep. Moore: “So states are responsible for death certificates and birth certificates. Birth certificates are a primary document necessary to be able to validate who you are in order to get a driver’s license. So really what we need to do as a state, it would seem, is to shore up the security in that realm. What constitutes a secure or valid birth certificate? How do we make sure that that person who is who they say they are on the birth certificate?
So, we have many thousands of people that come across unsecured borders and they are here in Oklahoma and many of them don’t have any documents but they want documents to be able to get a driver’s license, and here we are trying to raise the bar to the highest possible level for a REAL ID but yet we have tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people in Oklahoma with no identification. And that’s what people are calling me and demanding that we take care of but the primary document, like what Ms. Beach was talking about, the birth certificate, that is, at the hospitals and such, how are those document being secured?
I know through the tag agencies how secure they are required to have the pieces of the equipment and documentation necessary to put together and issue a driver’s license, which is pretty tough to do, but yet, what is the process of securing the documentation necessary to do a birth certificate? That is something we probably should look into.”
Joey Magana: “After 911 as well, in order to get a passport that became much more stringent as well we went from a short form birth certificate to a long form that has more information on it, so they were who they able to have more proof that people are who they were and that they are who they say they are, and so I would agree with you.”
Chairman Cleveland: “Director Thompson, if you have a false birth certificate you can get a driver’s license correct? Today? I am not saying you have a false one, but they don’t know it is false and your presenting a false birth certificate, they assume is correct and they give you a driver license.”
Commissioner Thompson: “Part of the REAL ID requirement that is going to be really tough to implement is to document the verification because folks are going to have to be trained how to look at those documents and how to measure whether or not they’re authentic before they move forward in the process to get an ID so, yeah, we have folks that are trying to use fraudulent information all the time to get identification but part of the thing we have to do is to be trained to recognize that.”
Chairman Cleveland: “But today, we have folks that are undocumented that have a driver’s license, that are giving wrong information to the license tag agencies that are getting the driver’s licenses. Will this new REAL ID stop that?”
Commission Thompson: “Yeah the thing is, I’m not sure I’m not aware of any…..verification of drivers licenses in Oklahoma …if there are we absolutely have an issue with that and we need to look into that.”
Chairman Cleveland: “But it was said in an interim study just a few weeks ago, that we have tag agencies that are giving driver licenses to people who shouldn’t have them.”
Commissioner Thompson: “I wasn’t part of that study. I’ll, I’ll refer that over to Randy (Randy Rogers, Oklahoma Highway Patrol) and to uh Jeff (Hankins, DPS) (Comm. Thompson looks at Jeff Hankins and asks;) could you (Jeff Hankins) comment on that?”
Jeff Hankins: “Is this on? Our, our, Department of Public Safety driver’s license examiners are trained, go through an extensive training to learn to verify documents. Tag agent employees don’t do the vetting of the documents all they do is actually issue the license and collect the fees. But our examiners are trained in that documentation.
We do have people that present fraudulent documents all the time but that again, our people are trained to look for those documents and do our best to, to keep those from being issued.
Ms. Beach brought up a program called EVVERs, I believe. It’s a birth certificate verification system, that is one of the requirements REAL ID Act is to use that system. We haven’t used that system in the past just because it was cost prohibitive.”
Let me pause here in the transcript and point out that although the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety is doing virtually nothing to ensure the authenticity of birth certificates, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security believes that the Oklahoma DPS is “verifying birth certificates” which is noted in their letter giving the state the extension of the implication of the REAL ID documented here. Which means using EVVE.
Chairman Cleveland: “Follow up question, please. As we go into, as we go into the REAL ID, is the driver…is the tag agencies going to be more secure as to what they do, is it going to change at all? Where does the REAL ID going take place at?”
Commissioner Thompson: “Right now we are looking at a number of options, whatever we do is going to cost money…you guys recognized that in 2007. One of the options are DPS does everything, another option is DPS and tag agencies share responsibilities. We’ve got about three options at least, we haven’t narrowed that down to yet, we haven’t centered on one specific option as we move forward. We put a lot of effort and a lot of thought processes …do this as efficiently and as cost prohibitive for the state of Oklahoma as we can, but we haven’t nailed down exactly how this process is going to work. It’s just, timing wise, we have to have something, if we are to move forward with REAL ID, we have to have something, we feel, in place to where we can start issuing that type of document in the Spring of 2018.”
Chairman Cleveland: “Representative Brooks ah Senator Brooks, excuse me.”
Senator Brooks: “I appreciate the academic element of this discussion (unintelligible) civil liberties and all that but I want to make sure that…all completely sure as policymakers we’re all completely on the same page, we have drifted a little bit. Congressional side and the DPS side, do you both agree that if we don’t have REAL ID compliant ID in the state by 2016 (or 2017?), that our licenses and ID cards won’t allow us into federal buildings but we can still get on airplanes with a regular driver’s license? Do you both agree with that statement?”
Commissioner Thompson: To me, sir, we’ve got an extension until Oct 2016. I really believe that we number of extensions…in the short time I’ve been commissioner…I really believe that and some point we are no longer be able to get an extension so between now and October 2016, our state of Oklahoma driver’s license will absolutely 100% get you on that plane. If we don’t get any changes made with this, I don’t know if we are going to get extension, but in my heart I believe just by listening and watching the process of this, at some point our Oklahoma driver’s license, if not REAL ID compliant, is not going to be to get you on an airplane.
And the only other point I want to make that was made earlier, if I have left the impression that a passport is the only way you can get on an airplane after that, that’s not my intention. There are, you have a passport, government ID, there are a number of things, the only problem with that, is all these issues, all these things listed as means to get on an airplane, they’re pretty much, ninety percent of that, the bulk of that is federal documents. That goes beyond our control at that point and Oklahoma has zero say in how that is done.”
Chairman Cleveland: “Follow up?”
Senator Brooks: “I was going to come to this last but since you brought it up Commissioner, in looking over this list of identification did you mean to suggest Mr. Magana after 2020, this was the list that is going to be acceptable, REAL ID compliant or not?”
Joey Magana: “Right.”
Senator Brooks: “So, you would have us understand as Congressman Russell understands, TSA can put out this list, with no dates or anything, for the year 2020, saying this is what we need?”
Joey Magana: “This is what is current as well. If you do not have a driver’s license this will get you on an aircraft. But for states are not compliant after 2020 regard this was for….”
Senator Brooks: “Well on this list we have driver’s licenses and other state photo identification cards issued by DPS or DMV’s. So if we are not REAL ID compliant – ever – you’re suggesting that even after 2020 a regular state ID will get you on an airplane?”
Joey Magana: “No. That’s contingent on if the state is REAL ID compliant.”
Senator Brooks: “Okay. So all of these are ‘if’ the state is REAL ID compliant. Or all of these identification cards?”
Joey Magana: “Correct”
Senator Brooks: “Okay. The other thing I wanted to point out that kind of goes to the Commissioner’s point. Is on this list about 12 to 15 items on there, I see maybe 3 of them, a passport, a passport card…as optional forms of ID. A driver license, U.S. passport and us passport card all the other form of ID on here not up to an individual citizen to go out and get or not. You can’t just get a military ID unless you are in the military. Can’t get a federally recognized tribal issued unless you are in the military …can’t get an incremental driver’s license…all of these things I don’t think it diminishes the point, what you said,… if we’re not compliant at some point, we’re going to have to have a passport, if not your driver’s license, so I just want to make sure we are on the same page one more time.
DPS as you understand the law, by October of 2016, if we are not in compliance with the REAL ID requirement, we can’t get into federal buildings, we can’t get on airplanes with our state ID?”
Commissioner Thompson: “Absolutely. That’s what I believe.”
Senator Brooks: “Mr. Magana, do you suggest Congressman Russell disagrees with that and thinks we have until at least till 2020 for air traveling?”
Joey Magana: “Correct. There is a Part 2 where DHS has to tell the state as well, what the definitive hard deadline is. But as for right now, and again, I can provide that later, to board federally [regulated] aircraft they have given us till 2020”
Rep. Moore: “So, what we are seeing is we have to violate our oath of office and our adherence, which says in the first line of Oklahoma constitution that we’re supposed to adhere to and uphold the United States Constitution as the supreme law of the land, so we have to violate those things in order to allow commandeering of the state’s legislative process and violate the dual sovereignty between the states and the federal government, in order to do this so that we can get on an aircraft? Doesn’t sound very good does it?”
Joey Magana: “I’m not following you here.”
Rep. Moore: “The federal government cannot come out with the requirement that all states will now issue a United States national ID or international ID. So, they can’t do that. But they can say states you have to have a state ID and all 50 states just so happen, they can have their own state ID, but all aspects of that ID has to be the same —That’s not a whole lot different from a national ID –or we won’t give you the money, or we won’t give you the access, to federally regulated aircrafts. How is that not commandeering of the states? How does that not make us a subject rather than a citizen?”
Joey Magana: “Yeah… (unintelligible) As I understand it, as our congressional staff understands it, the state has a choice if they are going to comply or not. If they do not,…federally regulated aircraft ….another ID to get on that if its federally regulated, other than that, the states have go (unintelligible) but I see what your point is, I know what you are saying, is that, if you don’t do this you’ll have to do something else but from the Congressman’s standpoint, I think he’d agree with you on that.”
Chairman Cleveland: “Commissioner Thompson?”
Commissioner Thompson: “Yes sir, I had, I wanted to give this to Jeff Hankins really quick before answer the senators question because he’s spent a lot more time talking with Homeland Security about this than I have so he may have a little more clarity on that so, if you’d talk a little bit Jeff, about that?”
Chairman Cleveland: “You are recognized” (to Jeff Hankins)
Jeff Hankins: “What we got clarification on as far as the timeline goes, we were under the impression too, because of an email and a letter that come out from the Department of Homeland Security on the 21st deadline and so we were going with that date that we thought we had until 2020 to become compliant. There were some questions that came up and we contacted Ted Sobel who is with the Department of Homeland Security and I guess kind of oversees the implementation for the states on REAL ID. He clarified that we do not have until 2020, we have until the date to be determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security to be able to board aircrafts if we are not are in compliance. I don’t know what that date is but the 2020 date, according to him, is the states have to get the components of their cards in compliance, and then the states are trying to come in compliance later on, now until 2018. There normal renewal periods aren’t up until 2020. So we’re, and what I’m, again I’m with Commissioner, I don’t believe we have until 2020 based on that information.”
Chairman Cleveland: “Commissioner, one of the questions I had for you, is if we have a bill introduced this session to go forward with the REAL ID, before we have the bill, I would like to know what our plans are to have what instituted, who’s going to be responsible for it? Are we going to continue to have the driver’s license at tag agencies, providing our drivers or not, so I hope that as you go along, we go along, before this bill is introduced, we have a little more answers on that.”
Commissioner Thompson: “I don’t disagree with that, at all sir. That’s absolutely fair. And we have, and I’m not trying to be redundant, but we have expended a tremendous amount of energy trying to figure out how we are going to do this. And the reason we are kind of laboring under a sense of urgency is, and I’m not trying to be flippant but we’re way behind other states that have already made considerable progress in this and some of these federal deadlines are looming. And so we’re trying to figure out how do we get this done. And we’ve got 268 partners with the tag agencies, I believe that that’s the right number, and but we still have to figure out is it a DPS issue, is it a DPS and tag agency issue or how do we best move forward, what’s best for the state of Oklahoma uh financially and efficiently, so that people aren’t frustrated by long lines.”
Chairman Cleveland: “Recognized.”
Rep. Moore: “I appreciate those efforts. The 268 tag agencies, that distribution system, I think should be preserved for the people of the state of Oklahoma. 268 places to go to get issued a driver’s license I would think would be better than one centralized place to get the driver’s license issued. I think we are boiling this down to a couple of things. The first, which you guys brought up, is the primary document that is used to, the foundation to a, what is a good, valid, accurate driver’s license or ID, is the birth certificate and that has to be shored up.
Another thing is, how does this make it more convenient, safer for persons to travel? Oklahomans to get on a plane? Is this going to make it more convenient? Are we going to be able to bypass other things or just, just one more thing and another thing and another thing and another thing after that? How does this make us more secure when, from what I understand there is 6,000 breaches of data nationally, …at the federal government and state government level of data security…ok so how is this going to make us more secure?
People in Oklahoma are common sense people.
You have Title 47 don’t want to be in violation of that and I don’t think we have been in violation of that, I would hope not, so if this has to be determined by the will of the people of the State of Oklahoma. Are they wanting to capitulate to the federal government in violation of the constitution or do we want to make this a decision that we come up with ourselves that says ‘okay we are going to hold ourselves to a higher standard and that higher standard just happens to coincide with what the REAL ID Act… the federal government is wanting us to comply with.’ Do you agree?”
Commissioner Thompson: “No. That is the wrong question sir. The thing that I would agree with, I want to be crystal clear here with this, again, we’re not over here pushing to force you to do this. If the state of Oklahoma does not comply with REAL ID, we will just live with the consequences. Period. That’s not a decision I can make, I’m not a lawmaker, I don’t pass laws, I just do my best as agency administrator to try to comply with them.
How do we get safer? The things we are doing without being consistent with REAL ID, again, or staying consistent with best practices in the industry. We’ve got an incredibly secure driver’s license and all we’re going to be able to do is, when you talk about security, is people have confidence in our driver’s license that it is secure. People have confidence in our driver’s license that it is not some counterfeited or made up driver’s license because of the measurements we are going to have to meet in these metrics. And the people who want to conceal their identity or want to mislead people are the people we want to crack down on so every effort we made to make sure that that doesn’t happen, I think it’s in the best interests of the safety of our citizens and that’s kind of my response to your question sir.”
Rep. Moore: “Thank you. I’d just like to follow up… So this happened in 2005 on a federal level and then in 2007 with Title 47 (Oklahoma law prohibiting REAL ID) with the change that was made to that, with us saying we weren’t going to comply with it…so in the 8, 9 years since then, what has changed in the state of Oklahoma to make people feel more comfortable with complying with the REAL ID Act of 2005?”
Commissioner Thompson: “Fair question and to me I ask myself the same question: why the sense of urgency now? I think it’s just a matter of we have federal deadlines that weren’t there in 2007.
Some people don’t think these deadlines are ever going to be implemented, I differ, respectfully, I think that they will and if we aren’t Real ID compliant when these deadlines hit, I feel sorry for the guy that is the DPS commissioner or governor because your phones in this building are going to melt when people are going to have to go get $110 …go get a passport or some other ID cost three times a driver’s license cost, I just think…and by the way, information government we going to freely give them far more intrusive information to the government than what the Department of Public Safety two miles from here is dong for you so that’s the reason. I think these federal deadlines are looming and I think that’s what kind of created this sense of urgency.”
Rep. Moore: “I would agree with you on the information the federal government is getting on you if you want any kind of student loan, that stuff requires all your information. If you want a mortgage, you basically have to give up all your information. I’m sure the federal government being in charge of those things…are those constitutional areas they are supposed to be operating in? Absolutely not. Are they doing it, have they grabbed that? Yes.
Basically, what we are saying in the end is as of October 2016, we are no longer as sovereign as a state as we are right now. We don’t have a choice. We will have become less citizen and more subject to federal government rules and regulations.”
Commissioner Thompson: “I don’t agree with that, sir. We do have a choice, we do have a choice…to comply or not comply. That’s our choice.”
Rep. Moore: “…but to be able to enjoy a ride on an airplane or to be able to go and use those services at a federal facility the tax payers pay for with their money that comes from the individual taxpayer first….that doesn’t seem very good to me. But that’s not between you and me to decide. That is for that one person that has left and is no longer here…okay Joey.” (unintelligible)
Chairman Cleveland: “I recognize you, Howard”
Howard Houchen: “This is to address, actually, Representative Moore you just touched on it and Senator Brooks asked a question on it earlier, on admittance to federal buildings and the necessary REAL ID requirement for that. Keep in mind that DHS itself in its own implementation guidelines is pretty specific about that.
(Howard Houchen reading from Department of Homeland Security Public FAQ on REAL ID)
A REAL ID does not apply to the following:
Entering federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification
Voting or registering to vote
Applying for or receiving federal benefits
Being licensed by a state to drive
Accessing health or life preserving services including hospitals, health clinics, law enforcement or constitutionally protected activities including a defendant’s access to court proceedings,
Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations.
Entering courthouses, federal courthouse
There are several, quite a few as a matter of fact, places that you will not need a REAL ID compliant driver’s license.”
Rep. Moore: “So what you are saying is, air travel is not a constitutionally protected means to travel?”
Kaye Beach: “I would like to speak to that. I’ve got the policy right here. This was written to Congressman Marchant in 2014. Remember when there was an issue arose about the illegals coming into the country and that they were flying, and they were flying without photo ID that was a big issue of controversy and TSA was questioned about it? It revealed what their policy is, why that policy is and that the policy is not going to change and here is what that policy is…You saw the abbreviated list of acceptable documents.
TSA explains that we put those acceptable documents on our website because those are the one we want citizens to show, however, we will accept any number of documents including documents without a photograph on it, as a matter of fact, TSA says, that they can let you fly with no ID at all provided that you match up in any number of their commercial or government databases, which you should if you have lived a life in the United States, it’s pretty hard to avoid…and if you don’t show up on the terrorist watch list. You may be subject to a secondary inspection.
I just went through this process recently so I can tell you exactly how this works. I actually got to the head of the line faster than everybody else. I showed them the documents I had, no photo ID. I had a bill, a pay stub, what have you. You can show a certain amount of documentation…all they want to know is that you are the same person who is on that boarding pass because the fact of the matter is that they have already investigated you before you arrive at the airport. They want to make sure that the person on the boarding pass is and the person in front of them is the same person. They can do it and will continue doing it with no identification at all.
All of this – and it is fear and it is pressure. That is what it is designed for. Since they cannot force the states, the federal government cannot force the states to accept the REAL ID. They needed a stick. Enforcement is the stick and it works by creating fear among the citizens that they are not going to be allowed to fly by the way there is a lot of precedence saying that flying is a constitutionally protected right unlike driving which has been decided is a privilege. Flying is a little different so, I just want to put that in perspective.
I also want to ask since I have this opportunity, (speaking to Commissioner Thompson) and I’m so you glad you came, thank you for coming. I would love to sit down and have a conversation with you. I do not doubt you guys’ intentions at all, I want you to know that. I have respect for each and every one of you.
I want to ask you a really simple question. You say we have been collecting biometrics forever, and you’re right, because technically anything that, any measurement of the body, your hair color, your eyes, height how tall you are how fat you are, how skinny you are. Those are all “biometrics” but there is a little bit of difference with the biometrics we are collecting today. I want to just ask you – Does DPS have a “facial recognition database? Do you have one of those? That’s a technical term.”
Commissioner Thompson: “Jeff?”
(Jeff Hankins nods in the affirmative)
Commissioner Thompson: “Yes we do.”
Kaye Beach: “Okay. That is different than a photo database I want to point out.
The difference is that a photo is used to match the person with the document. A biometric photo is used for computers to match the person to the document which can be done automatically, at a distance, without your knowledge or consent. That is the difference between a photo and a photo biometric.
We talked about the birth certificate and I just wanted to point out, I had no idea…”
Chairman Cleveland: “Excuse me, Kaye, if you would just get to your question?”
Kaye Beach: “…I had no idea that EVVE was so expensive. We are not participating in EVVE which would verify the birth certificate because it is cost prohibitive, but yet we have bought all this other equipment and implemented all these other processes that are very costly and those processes don’t really matter if we don’t know that the person’s birth certificate is valid to start with so …that’s all I have say. Thank you.”
Commissioner Thompson: “Can I just respond, Sir? The reference I made about biometric drivers licenses, we have had that. I’ve been a trooper since 1990 and when I get a driver’s license, before we went to digital drivers licenses in 2003, and if someone hands me a driver’s license and it says 6’4” and weighs 200 lbs and I’m looking at the guy and see that he’s 5’8” and weighs a buck ten, uh that’s a metric related to the body that’s a biometric it’s much more provocative now to talk about that but we have always had that as a way, that’s a tool to verify the identity of a person we have stopped on the side of the road.”
Chairman Cleveland: “Follow up? Anybody have any other questions? Two questions then we are going to move forward. Go ahead. You are recognized, sir.”
David Brook: “Allow me clarify this. You are saying that by November of 2016 if I’m a witness in a federal case I would be allowed to go into a federal court without any ID?”
Howard Houchen: “According to the DHS itself, in its own implementation guidelines, yes you will without a REAL ID compliant ID.”
Chairman Cleveland: “You have a question? Go ahead Howard.”
Howard Houchen: “I think this is a big question we’ve heard a lot about costs.’ It’s going to cost a lot …its going to cost.’ Does anybody have any idea how much this is going to cost? Total?”
Commissioner Thompson: “Yeah, we have an idea but we… the cost is going to be directly related to the option that we select. And just to be clear on this, there is going to be a considerable amount of money it costs to take this..to implement this and Oklahoma, because of our law we passed in 2007, we’ve missed out on millions and millions and millions of dollars to help implement this program. So the costs associated with it now, we are going to bear that as taxpayers of the state of Oklahoma.”
Howard Houchen: “If we decide to go forward with implementation?”
Commissioner Thompson: “Certainly.”
Howard Houchen: “And if not? Are there costs associated with that as well as far as the public monies?”
Commissioner Thompson: “There’s always costs with running a business like DPS”
Howard Houchen: “I’m talking about not implementing versus implementing. Obviously the costs are going to be astronomically less I’m assuming?”
Commissioner Thompson: “Considerably less.”
Chairman Cleveland: “I recognize Senator Brooks.”
Senator Brooks: “Just to jump in there, given this list of ID’s, understanding the point you made which is valid, but also given the wants of the average Oklahoman to have convenience especially in the airports, while the cost may be significant to the state in terms of direct taxpayer money implementing this system, the cost to the individual Oklahoman is going to be significant in getting a federal ID to get them onto that airplane, to get them into that courthouse or wherever else it is that they are going to be going, assuming that they are not a witness or a defendant or something. So you’ve got a family of four who wants to go to Canada, all of a sudden you are paying $440.00 maybe $60 extra each if you have last minute plans, to get that expedited passport to go across the border when otherwise you have yourself a $30.00 driver’s license.”
We need to point out that a driver’s license, REAL ID compliant or not, will not get you across the border. An Enhanced Driver’s License will but it costs more than a standard drivers license.
Howard Houchen: “Understood completely.”
Senator Brooks: “I think we have to understand the individual costs is going to be significant as will the taxpayer cost for us all so it’s not none over here and some over there.”
Chairman Cleveland: “Commissioner Thompson we want to express our appreciation for you being here and your staff for being here today and being very candid with your answers and fully understand, this main issue is with the federal government. I mean, we’re not attacking you, I want you to understand that.”
Commissioner Thompson: “Thank you, sir.”
Chairman Cleveland: “Not at all. In my time here, anytime I have gone to the OHP with a question I’ve gotten an answer I think that your agency might be, giving you my opinion, is one of the best agencies in the state of Oklahoma and I appreciate the job you do but I want to one more question over here on my right, yes sir?”
Unidentified attendee: “This is law is clearly and obviously, egregiously unconstitutional. Has the constitutionality of this law been challenged yet?”
Chairman Cleveland: “I don’t know if anyone can answer that…can anybody answer that? Can you answer that Charles?”
Charles Key: “I don’t think it has been challenged.”
Kaye Beach: “It hasn’t because it is, technically, voluntary. Yes there is pressure on the states because of the threat of enforcement which would burden the individual. And so I don’t think it has been constitutionally challenged because it’s not a mandate. We don’t have to do it.
Now, when people start getting barred from flying or doing other things they need to do then you will see many constitutional challenges which is why I don’t think, I have no indication that Homeland Security is going to go overboard on that. Right now the only federal building you can’t get into are highly secure like Homeland Security buildings and what have you that a normal person wouldn’t walk into anyways so really the line where they are going to stop with enforcement, really depends on what we do.”
Charles Key: “Mr. Chairman, I’d like to make one comment to Commissioner Thompson. Mr. Thompson, I don’t know if you directly in the loop on this but my driver’s license expired in January of this year. Took me a couple of months to realize, I may have gotten stopped once or somebody said ‘Oh, your driver’s license is expired.’ So I knew I had that on my plate, I needed to something about that but I did not want to have a biometric identifier. I contacted your office. I said, would you please, give me an ID with no biometrics, I have a religious objection. You denied me that. You made the statement earlier, that give people an ID, if I understood what your statement was, if they had an objection to the biometric identifier. Your office denied me. I’ve got some email records we are trying to dig up to share with some others about that.”
Commissioner Thompson: “Okay. You don’t have to dig those email up. We did deny your renewal and the part that I recall is your issue was that you didn’t want to give a thumbprint or a fingerprint. The truth of the matter is for the last decade it has been required by law that we take a fingerprint when we do a driver’s license and if you choose not to comply with the law, that’s your choice, sir. That is the thing that is great about the country that we live in.
The point that I made about compliant and non-compliant ID’s previously, I do think it’s important that we offer the state of Oklahoma, the people that live here, work here and pay taxes here, the choice if you want a REAL ID complaint and you know everything that goes with that, or do you want a non-REAL ID compliant. But even with a non-REAL ID compliant, we have to be consistent with the law as it’s written in Oklahoma and what is written is that you will give a fingerprint in Oklahoma State of Oklahoma since 2004 and I believe you were a legislator at the time when it was passed.”
Charles Key: “(unintelligible) …not biometric identifiers but what you were saying was that you would issue a citizen an ID that had an objection…”
Commissioner Thompson: “No I didn’t say that, sir.”
Charles Key: “What did you mean when you made that statement because that’s what I understood when you said it.”
Commissioner Thompson: “I’m not sure what you understood but the point that I made is if we decide to move forward I think it’s important that we issue a non-compliant, offer the citizens a non-compliant REAL ID card and an a ID that’s consistent or compliant with REAL ID. That’s the statement I made so how you inferred that or what you took away from that, I have no control over that.”
Charles Key: “We did pass a law in 2007 and it wasn’t just to say that we don’t like the federal REAL ID Act of 2005 but it was the intent of the legislature was really, being opposed to biometric identifiers. Your department is continuing to use identifiers like that…”
Commissioner Thompson: (interrupting) “..and we will to continue to because it’s state law,”
Charles Key: (continuing) “…it’s a violation of Title 47 passed by the state legislature..”
Commissioner Thompson: “Interpretation.”
Charles Key: “No that is not interpretation.”
Chairman Cleveland: “That being said, we’ll call and end to the meeting and thank you very much.”
This question and answer session followed the following testimony that we have already published:
11/21/2015 Related Story: Oklahoma REAL ID Study, Kaye Beach’s Testimony
11/24/2015 Related Story: ‘It’s going to get out of your control Oklahoma’ Howard Houchen Testifies on REAL ID
12/1/2015 Related Story: Oklahoma is Being Called to Lead on REAL ID, Charles Key’s Testimony
12/2/2015 Related Story: Oklahoma DPS Commissioner Thompson’s Testimony on REAL ID
And if you do not know what the REAL ID Act of 2005 is then you can read the recently published article “What is the REAL ID Act of 2005?”