Minneapolis City Council set to vote on municipal identification cards

If the council passes the ordinance, it will set up the framework for the implementation of a program.

Susie Jones
November 29, 2018 - 1:42 pm

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The Minneapolis City Council will vote on Dec. 7. on the ordinance which will allow residents to opt in and sign up for a municipal identification.

City Council member Alondra Cano, who supports the measure,  said that they have seen other cities use municipal identification cards as a way to have a city-wide identity. 

"We know there are some barriers for certain populations in the city, when it comes to for example in the transgender communit," she told WCCO Radio's Blois Olson. . 

The municipal card would give a person the ability to use the name they prefer, rather than the one assigned to them at birth.

Olson talked about the identification cards and law enforcement being a key issue, noting that sheriffs across the state have said they support immigrants being able to get drivers licenses because it will allow them to know who people are, and would make them less likely to flee an accident.  

"If the council passes the ordinance, it will set up the framework for the implementation of a program that we hope to roll out and begin by late next year," Cano said. 

Cano said part of the program will allow people to use the municipal identification card as a bus card, or for people to open bank accounts or get a library card.

Last week a a public hearing on the issue, Hennepin County Sheriff-Elect Dave Hutchinson showed up to support the move, saying he believed it would make communities more safe.

Minneapolis became a sanctuary city in 2003, when city council members voted to prevent cops from asking people about their immigration status or enforce immigration laws.

"You can't deny that the very practical and unique aspects of a municipal card program and the benefits that it will provide to every resident, regardless of your immigration status, your race, your gender," Cano said. 

She said it has taken right years to get to this point, and if the ordinance passes next week, it will take another six to nine months to figure out what software system to use, what sharing systems they will use, and how they will pay for it.

Olson said there were some cities across the country where un-documented residents were allowed to vote with a municipal identification card.

"We are certainly not there, " Cano responded.  "Let's not put the cart before the horse."