Finally, some good news about your ability to go through airport security with identification that’s nothing more complicated than your California driver’s license, the Department of Motor Vehicles recently told me. Like many other states, California has driver’s licenses that do not meet federal standards for identification deemed trustworthy enough to grant you access to a commercial airplane. For this you can thank the Real ID Act, the 2005 congressional legislation that asked states to comply with tougher post-9/11 requirements for issuing driver’s licenses. This isn’t a federal mandate, exactly, but here’s the problem: If your license doesn’t meet these federal standards, you’re going to have to use something else (a passport or a Global Entry card, for instance) at airport screenings and to access federal facilities such as military bases. There has been no particular hurry to get this done. And by “particular hurry,” I refer you to the date the legislation made it through Congress. By the time you must have a compliant ID, this will have been 15 years in the making. Some states already comply. You know those annoying kids who always showed up at school with homework done, reports in cool plastic binders and science projects worthy of blue ribbons? Think of, say, Arizona and Kansas, among others, as the kids who did all the right things. The goody-two-shoes states are in green on the Department of Homeland Security Real ID website ( You’ll notice a whole lot of yellow states on the map. Those are states that haven’t quite made the grade. California is one of those, but here’s where it gets confusing (a phrase I’ve written about six times as I continue to try to explain bureaucracy at its finest): If you have a driver’s license from an out-of-compliance state, you still can use that document for airline security ID purposes until at least Jan. 22 of next year. Catharine Hamm Question: My passport is 100 pages, so thought I could avoid carrying it on domestic flights (especially when our California driver’s license is no longer accepted) by getting a passport card. I paid for one, and when the card came it was accompanied by a letter