FRANKFORT – House Bill 410, known as the REAL ID Bill, was written to bring Kentucky into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act by Jan. 1, 2019, and will by far affect more Kentuckians than the other transportation bills discussed during yesterday’s meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation.
Rick Taylor, the deputy commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Regulation, said he expects to hear by July 10 whether the Department of Homeland Security will extend a waiver allowing Kentucky to remain in noncompliance with the federal act until the new state driver’s licenses are available.
“Everything has been positive,” he said in reference to the extension request. “I don’t have any reason at this time to feel uncomfortable about that.”
Taylor said Kentucky will begin soliciting bids on Sept. 1 from companies able to produce driver’s licenses that meet the federal security requirements. The goal is to have a company selected by Jan. 1, 2018. He added that will allow time for the new licenses to be rolled out across the state’s 120 counties.
“We will ask you to keep us up-to-date as this progresses because we have all lived through this controversy and the issues,” committee Co-chair Sen. Ernie Harris, R-Prospect, said in reference to a vigorous debate that took place about the best way to bring Kentucky into compliance.
Taylor testified on the progress of implementing transportation-related bills into law during the meeting.
The transportation-related bills legislators received updates on include:
• House Bill 192 makes it easier for 16- and 17-year-olds in foster care to apply for driver’s permits and driver’s licenses. State officials have already drafted a nine-page application to ensure a child’s eligibility and a letter for foster parents to give local driver licensing clerks. Transportation officials said it will take a little longer to solicit bids for car insurance to cover children in the state foster-care system but who are not living with foster parents.
• House Bill 404 creates a commercial low-speed license plate for golf carts and other utility vehicles used for deliveries. It ensures that the vehicles have commercial insurance on file with the state. Transportation officials hope to have the license plates available by the middle of September so delivery companies can have the golf carts ready to deploy during this year’s holiday shopping season.
• Senate Bill 73 lays out guidelines on how autocycles, a type of three-wheeled vehicle growing in popularity, are to be licensed, taxed and insured. Transportation officials said the guidelines should be finalized by July.
• Senate Bill 176 allows for Humvees and other demilitarized vehicles to be licensed for use on public roads by the general public. (There is already an exception carved out for law enforcement.) The state began getting requests from civilians for such licenses after the Pentagon started auctioning the camo-covered, husky, troop-transporting High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) to civilians in 2014. Transportation officials said they are on track to begin issuing the license plates for the vehicles on July 1.