St. Charles Herald-Guide

Driverís license or passport needed?

By C.B. Forgotston - June 14, 2013

Recent federal law requires that in order to use oneís driverís license as an I.D. for boarding a flight on a commercial airline the license must include certain information in the magnetic strip.

A state law passed in 2008 by Rep. Brett Geymann prohibits the state from making certain changes to our driverís licenses that are necessary to comply with the federal law.

Failure to comply with the federal law means that passports must be used as an I.D. for boarding flights.

There was an effort last year to resolve this matter with the federal government so that we could continue to use our Louisiana licenses even though they did not comply.

I thought the matter had been resolved. Apparently, it hasnít been.

During the just-ended Regular Session of the lege, amendments were offered in the Senate Transportation Committee to change the law so that Louisiana licenses met the federal regulations. That legislation died on the Senate Floor.

Media reports indicate that unless Louisiana is in compliance with federal law by October, we will all be required to use passports in order to fly on commercial airplanes.

Rep. Geymann says that the feds canít force Louisiana to comply and thus we can continue to use our driverís licenses to fly.

The matter is a real dilemma for holders of Louisiana licenses who fly via commercial aviation.

Should Louisiana residents planning to fly somewhere after October acquire passports? Or should they just wait until October to see what happens?

Should we just wait until the feds decide to crackdown on Louisiana? Historically, the feds usually win these showdowns.

The public didnít create this dilemma, the legislators and bureaucrats did. Itís time for someone in authority in Louisiana to tell the citizen exactly what is the situation with respect to driverís license or passport.

Itís time for someone in authority in Louisiana to step up and inform the citizens of Louisiana. We shouldnít have to wait until we get the airport to find out.