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State police head: Louisiana gets extension on ID compliance, easing concerns


NEW ORLEANS — The head of Louisiana's state police said Friday that the state has received an extension to comply with federal REAL ID rules that go into effect this weekend, meaning Louisianans will be able to enter federal buildings and military bases next week using their state ID.

Col. Mike Edmonson said he was told Friday afternoon by Department of Homeland Security officials that Louisiana's request for an extension had been granted.

Louisiana is one of a handful of states whose licenses don't comply with federal guidelines designed to make IDs more secure or who had not been granted an extension by DHS. The REAL ID act was passed in 2005 to set minimum security standards for licenses that are used to access federal buildings, nuclear power plants and eventually to board planes. But the DHS stressed in a news release Friday that IDs from all states are still valid for air travel.

Starting Saturday, the beefed-up IDs are necessary to enter most federal buildings but people who come from a state that has an extension, like Louisiana, can still use their state ID.

The state police chief applied a few weeks ago for an extension. Edmonson said he was not told exactly how long the extension is for, but believes it to be for one year. That should give the state time to make necessary changes. One change, said Edmonson, is that people will need a certified copy of their birth certificate to renew their license.

Edmonson says the extension shows the state is doing the "things we need to do."

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