Iowa's new REAL IDs generating questions, controversy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa's new REAL IDs generating questions, controversy

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

A new form of ID in Iowa is generating some controversy and confusion, but might also help make traveling a smoother process.

At Iowa driver's license stations starting Jan. 15, people with an existing driver's license can get what's called a REAL ID.

This federally-proposed and state-adopted ID will look just like a regular Iowa driver's license but have a little star in the right hand corner, designating it a valid ID in both Iowa and in the U.S.

It requires extra government-issued identification when applying for it and acts as sort of a national identification card.

In the future, officials say, a REAL ID might be required to board a plane, enter a federal building or visit a nuclear power plant. For the time being, however, one's current, valid ID will be sufficient to get on a plane.

"It's going to be an ongoing process," Dubuque Regional Airport's operations and maintenance supervisor Todd Dalsing said. "So your standard drivers license or passport or military ID or whatever is approved on the TSA website will still be applicable at the screening checkpoint."

Ben Stone, executive director of the Iowa affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, said he and his group are opposed to the ID.

"In this country, people do not have to prove who they are to walk around in society and live their lives," he said. "It's only under certain situations that you have to prove your identity, and the REAL ID system will turn that on its head."

He said already half the states in the country have refused to comply with REAL ID, plus the extra verification requires extra paperwork for both applicants and the Iowa Department of Transportation.

"Many state legislatures have said, 'We're not going to do this,' and, unfortunately, the State of Iowa has gone ahead and spent the money to do this and created some hurdles for Iowans that they shouldn't have to deal with," Stone said.

Starting Jan. 15, anybody applying for a new Iowa drivers license, such as somebody who just moved from out-of-state or a teen applying for a permit, will automatically go through the REAL ID application process.

For those with an existing Iowa license, however, the Iowa DOT says those folks don't have to do anything. When it comes time to renew, she or he can choose whether to stick with a regular license or apply for the extra-verified REAL ID.

The Iowa DOT has a lot of information about this new REAL ID on its website. Click HERE for the Frequently Asked Questions page and HERE to see what kind of paperwork is required to apply for the ID.

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