Drive will stay short for licensing services

Marion County drivers will be able to renew their licenses at the county treasurer?s office in Marion for the foreseeable future.

Congressman Jerry Moran announced May 4 that county treasurers across the state will continue to process driver?s license renewals in the rural areas of Kansas.

At one time it was thought this service would be stripped from county treasurers, and that Kansas residents would be required to renewal driver?s licenses in central locations maintained by employees of the State of Kansas.

Moran said proposed federal regulations governing the 2005 REAL ID Act would allow county treasurers to offer this service as long as specific security standards were followed.

The REAL ID Act sets uniform security features for licenses and requires a state to verify the identity of an applicant.

This act is to take effect in May 2008, with a federally granted extension of 19 months. States are not bound to the rules but could lose federal aid if they do not comply.

Eileen King, Riley County treasurer and president of the Kansas County Treasurers Association, presented Moran with more than 81,000 petitions from Kansas residences opposing the removal of this service from county offices.

Moran said the staggering number of signatures surpassed any petitions delivered to him dealing with federal legislation.

Marion County Treasurer Jeannine Bateman collected 3,053 signatures from 24 percent of the residents of the county.

King also presented 70 county resolutions, including the resolution signed by Marion County commissioners, supporting the maintaining of driver?s license services in local courthouses.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff assured Kansas residence that the federal rules would not force Kansas to change its system.

Consequently, ?Kansans will not lose access to services at their county courthouses,? Moran said.

Carmen Aldritt, director of vehicles of the Kansas Department of Revenue, said state lawmakers have passed legislation clearly authorizing county treasurers to act as agents of the state in providing driver?s license services.

Currently, more than 70 Kansas counties offer driver?s license services, while only 37 counties have state-served sites and five counties offer both.

Only two Kansas counties have no service.

?The county sites are important in offering convenient access for renewing driver?s license,? said Bateman.

?The REAL ID Act is to ensure better homeland security, and who better to enforce this than an office that knows most of its constituency,? she added.

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