HARRISBURG -- Pennsylvanians soon should be free to continue moving about the country.
The legislature is poised to send a bill to Gov. Wolf as early as Wednesday that would allow the state to issue driver's licenses that meet security standards required by the federal Real ID law.
Pennsylvania is among a handful of states that have resisted implementing those standards.
The legislature's fix, on track for approval by both chambers and delivery to Wolf -- whose spokesman says he will sign it -- is landing right under the gun. Should the state miss the June 6 deadline to show the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that it is in compliance, Pennsylvanians could be barred from entering most federal buildings as early as next month, and prohibited from flying commercially as early as next year.
(Residents would still be able to do both if they had passports.)
"We've been working with the House and the governor on this ... and hopefully that will bring this to a conclusion," Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre) said Tuesday.
Essentially, the state would create a two-tiered system. Residents who want the new license could apply for one through PennDot; those who don't could continue receiving the state's standard driver's license or photo ID card, but should be made aware that their movements could be restricted without a passport.
Less clear is who will shoulder the cost for the state's compliance with the Real ID law.
Currently, it costs $30.50 to renew a standard driver's license or obtain a new license, and $29.50 to get a photo ID card.
Legislators on Tuesday did not rule out that a Real ID license could cost more than a standard license, but they said PennDot would make that determination.
Passed by Congress in 2005 following recommendations by the 9/11 Commission, the Real ID Act established security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards, and prohibited federal agencies from accepting licenses and ID cards from states that do not meet these standards.
In 2012, Pennsylvania's legislature passed a law, signed by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, to block the state from implementing the Real ID law. Critics viewed it as a costly federal overreach that would force states to participate in a national registry of license holders.