A bill requiring state driver’s licenses and identification cards comply with the federal Real ID law passed the SC House of Representatives on March 2 by a 100-3 vote. The measure now heads to the Senate.

If the General Assembly doesn’t pass a law to comply with the Real ID act, starting in January 2018 South Carolinians must come up with a form of identification that has been approved by the federal government such as a passport or military ID card.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the Real ID law enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”

SC legislators passed a law in 2007 saying South Carolina “shall not participate in the implementation of the federal Real ID Act.” Proponents of the measure, led by former Gov. Mark Sanford, argued that the Real ID law required too much personal information and would lead to the federal government's issuing ID cards instead of the states.

Despite the state’s stance, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security granted South Carolina five extensions. But that ended last year when South Carolina learned that state-issued driver’s licenses and personal ID cards would not be an accepted form of ID as of Jan. 22.

In early January, Homeland Security granted South Carolina and five other states an extension until June 6. But the General Assembly has to pass a law saying the state intends to comply with Real ID.

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