Even with updates, Illinois IDs won't be fully federally compliant

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Even after changes the new Illinois licenses will still have an old problem: they will not be compliant with U.S. Homeland security regulations (WLS)

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
The Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White showed off new driver's licenses that will be issued starting this summer but the new licenses will still have an old problem: they will not be compliant with U.S. Homeland security regulations known as the REAL I.D. Act. Even though the license cards are being touted as more secure and better protection against identity theft they don't measure up to the federal standard.

The changes are required but Illinois' new license won't fully meet the federal REAL I.D. requirements.

"We've been making steady progress on implementing REAL ID. We've met approximately 84 percent of the requirements" says Secretary of State Senior Legal Advisor Nathan Maddox. "There are three categories in the requirements that we could not comply with until we have a legislative change."

Those changes will have to come from the General Assembly, including the elimination of allowing people to have both a license and a state ID and limiting the maximum duration of a license to eight years

Even though they won't meet federal requirements, the new licenses will be more secure than the old ones. First state officials will issue a paper license while background checks are conducted on applicants at a central site in Springfield, from which the license cards will be mailed.

"It's a laser engraved card vs. a plastic card that was laminate" says Mike Mayer, Director of Driver's Services. "So we control that laser document and it's all done in a secure location, instead of 126 other facilities out there so you don't have variations you have consistency on that driver's license."

While the new license fees will not be increased, the Illinois Secretary of State's Office has said it estimates it will take roughly $60 million spent over two to three years to bring Illinois' systems and licenses into compliance with REAL ID.

If you plan to fly before your new driver's license arrives, you'll need to carry both the temporary paper id and the old one. Transportation Security Administration officials say they'll accept those interim forms of ID.
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