The federal government extended its deadline for Louisiana to comply with the REAL ID Act of 2005.
Louisiana State Police Col. Michael Edmonson and U.S. Sen. David Vitter announced the decision late Friday.
Most of the Louisiana congressional delegation had joined Edmonson in requesting more time before authorities forbid the use of the state’s drivers’ licenses as identification to access federal courthouses, military bases and other facilities.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was set to enforce the law Saturday. Travelers on commercial airlines were still going to be allowed to use their Louisiana drivers’ licenses as identification until sometime in 2016.
Separate requests from Edmonson and the congressional delegation argued that Louisiana had adopted the most important security procedures required in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and would soon be in compliance with the rest of the law.
Louisiana legislators initially banned state government from meeting the federal requirements. In 2014, the Legislature reversed itself and passed a bill to allow REAL ID compliance, but Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed the measure on the advice of conservative groups, including the Tea Party of Louisiana.
Louisiana had been one of a handful of states that were not compliant or had not received an extension.
Edmonson, who is in charge of the Office of Motor Vehicles, has said he hopes to bring back the 2014 legislation next year after a new governor and new Legislature is elected.
“I’m certainly glad to see that our efforts to protect Louisiana citizens from the federal government’s arbitrary deadline attempting to delegitimize our legal driver’s licenses have been successful — and just in time too,” Vitter said in a prepared statement.
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