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Morning Brief: Real-IDs, Campfires, And A Moonscape

Image of a driver's license shows the characteristics of a REAL ID, which includes two versions of the driver's photo and a distinctive background.
An example of a California "Real ID" driver's license.
(Courtesy California Dept. of Motor Vehicles)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s June 24.

Local, state and federal officials have been touting the Real-ID — a new kind of driver’s license — for years, but even for those of us who have tried to follow along, the concept is a bit confusing.

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This week, though, the California Department of Motor Vehicles announced that residents who renewed or got a driver’s license during the coronavirus pandemic could upgrade to a Real-ID for free between now and Dec. 31.

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So, should you take advantage of this opportunity? What even is this opportunity? My colleagues Olivia Richard and Leslie Berestein Rojas broke it all down, and here are some of the takeaways:

What Is A Real-ID?

It's a license or ID that is compliant with the Real ID Act, a law passed by Congress in 2005 following 9/11 that sought to create standardized driver's licenses in all states. The law established certain national security requirements for these state-issued documents, which must be obtained by May, 2023.

Do I Need One?

Not necessarily. They’re an option if you want to carry just one form of identification in order to board a plane or enter a military base, among other things. But if you have a standard-issue driver’s license, you’ll just need to also present a passport, passport card, or military ID.

"A Real ID driver's license or ID card is optional," said DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez. "It is just an easier way for you to continue using your driver's license to board a domestic flight. That is really the main part of it."

Read the entire article here.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

For the record: Wednesday morning’s newsletter mistakenly stated that L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva does not have authority in the city of Los Angeles. The sheriff, in fact, has the authority to enforce laws anywhere in the county, though it is rare for a sheriff to intercede in city of L.A. matters.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • The L.A. City Council passed an ordinance giving renters new protections from landlords who harass them.
  • New images taken from space show the stark difference between 2020 and 2021 in the Angeles National Forest, where wildfire and drought have left behind a moonscape.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom dramatically overstated the amount of fire prevention work performed by the state, and cut Cal Fire’s mitigation budget by $150 million last year.
  • Addressing a Los Angeles Superior Court, Britney Spears pleaded for her long-running conservatorship to end.
  • Certain areas of the San Bernardino National Forest are now off-limits for campfires, target shooting, smoking, and wood or charcoal barbecues.
  • Certificates, bootcamps and digital badges have taken off in recent years as an alternative to degrees. But are they worth it?
  • Fans attending the Clippers' Thursday playoff game will be required to wear a mask except when eating or drinking, whether they’re vaccinated or not.
  • Between 1862 and 1976, residents of L.A. County claimed almost 3,000 homesteads.

Before You Go ... Get Ready For The Big One

Time to stock up on earthquake supplies (Photo by freid via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

We’re teaming up with the Los Angeles Times to show you how to prepare for and survive a major earthquake in Southern California.

Join us on June 24th for a community forum to discuss the reality of living in earthquake country with quake expert Lucy Jones, KPCC/LAist science reporter Jacob Margolis, L.A. Times reporter Rong-Gong Lin II, L.A. Times columnist Patt Morrison, and “All Things Considered” host Austin Cross.

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