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Louisiana flyers could need passport to travel

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BATON ROUGE - The Office of Motor Vehicles will know in the next few days if Louisiana air travelers will need a passport to travel by Jan. 15, 2013.

Commissioner Stephen Campbell warned people to wait before changing their plans, in case the state is offered an extension to the Real ID Act of 2005.

Louisiana is one of 27 states that don't have state-issued ID's that fall in compliance with the Act. The Act sets standards for licenses and other official ID's to make it easier for law enforcement to verify the identity of a person. Louisiana opted out of the changes, fearing identity theft and privacy issues.

Some travel agencies are warning people ahead of time about the possible changes.

"As a travel agent, we want to make sure they have the documents they need to travel," said Pearson's Travel Consultant Leslie Steele. "It's a good idea to have a passport. It's a good form of ID, the TSA likes to see it at the airport, I just think it's a good idea to have on you."

The Act could possibly going into effect next month, but airport officials are hopeful the new law will be postponed. If the Act does take effect, Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration will decide how to handle travelers who have ID's deemed unacceptable.

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