The Department of Homeland Security has granted Montana an extension to comply with stringent federal driver's license rules under the REAL ID Act.
DHS Assistant Secretary for Policy, Alan Bersin and Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs Philip McNamara, sent Gov. Steve Bullock a letter Friday saying the extension lasts until Oct. 10, 2015.
Yesterday, most federal facilities began restricting access to people without REAL ID-compliant identifications. The letter says agencies may accept Montana identifications during the extension period.
The law was passed in 2005 to fight terrorism and prevent identity theft. REAL ID-compliant identifications have layers of security, such as verification of birth certificates, Social Security numbers and immigration status.
Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox oppose the REAL ID requirements, saying that Montana's driver's licenses are already secure.
Bullock was traveling today and could not be reached for comment.
Fox tells Edward O'Brien that drivers licenses and ID cards have traditionally been the purview of the state - not federal - governments. He says the Montana Department of Justice has taken great strides in bolstering the security of these cards and keeping personal information private.