JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri is officially REAL ID-compliant, following the signing of HB 151 by Gov. Eric Greitens. However, an important sponsor of the legislation, Sen. Ryan Silvey, was not invited to the signing ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster, Missouri.
Whiteman is one of the military bases that would not have accepted Missouri driver licenses as a proper form of identification if the Show-Me State did not offer identification that meets the standards outlined by the Department of Homeland Security.
— Denny Hoskins, CPA (@DLHoskins) June 12, 2017
The Missouri General Assembly passed the legislation this spring, allowing Missouri to avoid the January 22 deadline.
If the state had not addressed the issue by then, Missourians would not be able to use their driver’s licenses as ID to board planes or enter federal buildings or military bases.
Opponents of the legislation argued against it, saying it would allow personal and private data to be stored in a federal database, but the legislation that advanced in Missouri during the legislative session allows citizens to choose between a REAL ID-compliant identification card, which stores that data, or a non-compliant one.
The new law also includes language to ensure that personal documents would be housed in a secure database that is not connected to the commercial internet, as well as penalties for anyone who hacks or misuses the data.
Up until the signature from the governor, Missouri was just one of four states in the U.S. that was not either compliant or in the process of becoming compliant.
Sen. Will Kraus, R–Lee’s Summit, was a staunch opponent of the bill and issued the following statement after the governor’s signing of the bill
“As a Republican, I believe in smaller government, not government-run databases, which is exactly what REAL ID creates — a database that will almost certainly result in a larger, more intrusive government,” he said. “Now that HB 151 has been signed into law, the people of Missouri must continue to be vigilant of any further federal government overreach. We must also remain steadfast in our efforts to push for the federal government to repeal the REAL ID Act. With that, I once again call on Missourians to contact our congressional delegation and urge them to move for a full repeal of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005.”
Rep. Kevin Corlew, the House sponsor of the bill, was on hand for the signing of the bill, but Silvey, R-Kansas City, the senator who had been pushing for REAL ID implementation since 2009, was not. That was the year in which the state passed legislation prohibiting Missouri from complying with the federal standards.
His substitute at the time had included the provisions that allowed an individual choice for Missouri citizens. This year, the House and Senate signed off on the Senate substitute version for REAL ID, a piece of legislation penned almost exclusively by Silvey.
An invitation to the bill’s signature was not extended from the governor to Silvey, despite the tradition that the both House and Senate sponsors be on hand for signature ceremonies. In fact, Silvey was first informed about the signing ceremony by Corlew.
Silvey is not aware of any legislator that has not been invited to a ceremony for a bill that the offered, saying it was “pretty unusual.”
“The only reason would have to be personal or political one,” Silvey said Monday afternoon. “I heard about the ceremony from Rep. Corlew, who asked if I was going, which I didn’t know was even taking place. I reached out to Sen. Denny Hoskins, as it was being held in his district, and he assured me that he was.
“At that point, I let it go. We never got a phone call, never got an email, never got a voicemail, so I just decided I wasn’t welcome at that signing ceremony. But the more I thought about it, I’m just glad the bill got done, and that the law is fixed… Frankly, I’m just a part-time legislator, and he’s a full-time politician, so he needs the cameras more than I do.”
Silvey went on to compare Greitens to his predecessor, former Gov. Jay Nixon.
“Jay Nixon was at least a gentleman,” he continued. “Jay Nixon and I fought like cats and dogs for most of his eight years, but when I passed a bill that was good public policy, he would sign it. If he thought it was worthy of public attention, he would sign it in public and I would be right there behind him. I guess the difference is that, even though Gov. Nixon and I had our differences, he still understood personal relationships and was a gentleman.”
Greitens’ signing of the bill comes just hours before the Senate returned to the Capitol on Monday for a second special session at the Governor’s behest, which Silvey questions the merit of, saying he doesn’t consider the issue to be of extraordinary necessity or fiscally responsible.
As for REAL ID, the changes are expected to take up to two years to be fully implemented, but Missouri will qualify for a waiver from the federal government which should allow them to continue using their driver’s license or other current IDs until the new system is established.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.