BATON ROUGE — Gov. Bobby Jindal on Friday vetoed a bill allowing Louisiana to issue driver's licenses that comply with the security measures of the federal REAL ID law.
In 2016, people will need a license or state identification card that is compliant with REAL ID policies to board all domestic flights. Without one, they will be required to produce a passport or other federal identification card or could be subject to intense questioning from security.
"The timeline is still a year and a half away while this legislation would subject the State of Louisiana to unnecessary federal oversight of our drivers' licenses," Jindal's veto letter said.
The governor said he vetoed the bill at the request of Louisiana State Police, which had pushed the change during this year's legislative session.
"Given the time still available to review unintended and potentially far reaching consequences of compliance in Louisiana, Louisiana State Police has requested additional time to vet this change and requested that I veto this legislation," Jindal wrote.
The Eagle Forum, the Louisiana Family Forum and Tea Party of Louisiana had urged him to veto the bill by Rep. Karen St. Germain, D-Pierre Part, that would have allowed people to get REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses on a voluntary basis if they want them.
Tea Party of Louisiana spokesman Bob Reid called the REAL ID law an unnecessary and costly intrusion into people's lives that risks their data privacy.
Jindal's state police superintendent, Col. Mike Edmonson, has said Louisiana only needs to scan into a database and store the birth certificates of people with drivers' licenses and ID cards to comply with federal law. The rest of the required security features already are in place.
REAL ID licenses would get a gold star indicating fulfillment of the standards.
Supporters of St. Germain's bill say they put protections in the bill to stop federal intrusion in Louisiana's driver's license.
The state database that contains the scanned documents can't be linked to other databases. Any new requirements added by federal officials for REAL ID compliance will need further approval from state lawmakers before they could be used in Louisiana.