So I hear Louisiana is refusing to comply with the REAL ID Act, the legislature having made an official proclamation of such in 2008. This is especially relevant now because, as of Jan. 15, 2013, airports and some federal buildings require compliant ID for admission.
Which means that, technically, a Louisiana driver's license is no longer sufficient ID to board a flight (though there's been a six-month extension for now). Some officials are recommending that residents who want to fly should obtain a U.S. passport.
I've never been a fan of REAL ID, and I've been meaning to get a passport for years anyway. But if REAL ID is the new national standard, then states shouldn't be stubborn about adopting it. Passports are expensive — last I checked, $75 plus pic — and you have to wait two weeks for it to arrive. That's a cruddy deal for someone who isn't traveling internationally and already dropped money for a state ID. I'm irritated with the state's hostility toward the federal government on a good day, let alone when its showboating causes unnecessary hassle.
Furthermore, I only heard of this through a tiny news blurb in an old newspaper I was throwing away. How many unlucky Louisianans will find out when trying to board the plane? That could prove devastating if, like I expect to do, they're flying to a job interview in another state. One that perhaps isn't beelining toward the Third World in terms of education, economics and mortality.
No wonder we'll need the passport.