Daviess Fiscal Court will vote Thursday on final approval for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to house a regional REAL ID office in Daviess County.
REAL ID is a federally mandated form of identification that meets increased security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. Travelers will be required to provide either a REAL ID or another Transportation Security Administration-approved form of identification in order to fly after Oct. 1, 2021, or to visit military bases and federal facilities that require identification.
The recent news of an office being established in Daviess County was welcome, said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly.
“We are very pleased that our hard work and the hard work of our legislators has paid off and has culminated in regional REAL ID office in Daviess County,” he said.
In November 2019, the KYTC released a proposal meant to streamline the REAL ID launch process, which has been fraught with postponements. As part of this process, the cabinet named its 12 regional offices to spearhead the rollout to meet the federal deadline. Those offices would have been in Paducah, Madisonville, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Louisville, Lexington, Florence, Somerset, Manchester, Jackson, Prestonsburg and Morehead.
For the citizens of Daviess County, KYTC’s initial plan would have meant traveling to the cabinet’s District 2 office in Madisonville, which did not sit well with Mattingly. The new office would not be easily accessible not only for the citizens of Daviess County, but for surrounding counties as well, Mattingly said.
After that announcement, Mattingly immediately rang alarm bells as to why the state’s fourth-largest city with an airport was not given the opportunity to house a regional office like Lexington, Louisville and Bowling Green. After months of working in conjunction with state legislators, KYTC and the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet, a permanent office came to fruition.
The new office, which is anticipated to be operational in January 2021, will be housed at the Daviess County Operations Center, at 2620 Kentucky 81, Mattingly said.
“Currently the office for the Daviess County Parks and Recreation Department and Daviess County Engineer Mark Brasher are housed in the operations center,” Mattingly said. “We are going to move those offices into the Schertzinger Building where the RiverPark Eye Center was located on the corner of Third Street and Allen (Street). The Emergency Management Agency will also move to the Schertzinger Building with the county coroner moving in the Daviess County Courthouse. There will be some remodeling that has to be done and we are hoping that it will be open at the beginning of January.”
On Mar. 27, Gov. Andy Beshear signed House Bill 453, sponsored by Florence Republican Sal Santoro. The bill officially made KYTC the sole application and issuance entity for operators licenses and personal identification cards while eliminating the requirements that these documents be applied for in one’s county of residence. The bill will also expand the pre-existing list of documents an applicant can use when applying and allows applicants to choose between four to eight years before renewal.
A major factor in the decision of identification issuance being taken over by KYTC came at the behest of the Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks who indicated that circuit courts around the state no longer desired to shoulder the responsibility. According to the bill, all circuit clerks will be required to cease issuing licenses and personal ID cards by June 30, 2022.
Ultimately, the establishment of a Daviess County REAL ID office is a ‘win for the community,” Mattingly said.
“It is definitely more convenient than having to go to Madisonville or Frankfort,” he said. “Myself and Rep. (Suzanne) Miles have worked extremely hard to change the mindset of Frankfort in regard to an office being in this community and contrary to the Association of Circuit Court Clerks not wanting to be involved, we felt it was important that our citizens have access to a regional office in their own community. It will also be open to the counties surrounding Daviess County. This is a major win for the citizens of Owensboro-Daviess County.”
Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, firstname.lastname@example.org