On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it extended the deadline for more than 20 states to comply with the REAL ID standards. The state's requests for longer extensions during which current licenses would be accepted by the federal government have not yet been granted.
Under legislation approved in May, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is working to produce a driver's license that complies with the 2005 Real ID law enacted following the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
"Federal officials have told the governor's office that states which continue to make progress with compliance will continue to be granted these extensions", Gordon said.
Minnesota has lagged behind other states in complying with the 2005 Real ID Act, which was written following the attacks of September 11, 2001.
The Real ID Act set national standards to improve the security of state-issued identification to prevent undocumented immigrants and terrorists from obtaining US driver's licenses.
"The State of ME, however, expects to have a valid waiver at that time", Muszynski said. Several of the 9/11 hijackers had obtained state-issued driver's licenses in the months leading up to the attack. Passage of that law has allowed the state to continue working toward compliance.
The federal government is not checking for Real ID-compliant licenses until January 22, 2018. A decadelong, $97 million project to upgrade the software system the state uses to process vehicle and driver's licenses is in its final stages, and in the midst of a bumpy rollout of the update related to vehicle licensing. The new system must be fully functional by July 1, 2019, according to the new state law.