Kansas communities will be safer, healthier, and stronger when everyone can get a photo ID
Establish a Municipal ID card program in Kansas Counties
Starting with Wyandotte County, we hope to establish a Municipal ID card program in counties throughout Kansas.
What it is: A Municipal ID card is a form of photo identification issued by a city or county government. It can be used to prove a person’s identity within the city/county limits or to access services from any institution that agrees to accept the card as proof of identity.
What it is not: A Municipal ID card does not give driving privileges or take the place of state- or federally-issued identification required for travel (for example, driver’s licenses or passports).
Why we need it: Kansans across the state struggle to obtain government-issued photo ID. For example, as many as 30,000 people in Wyandotte County—1 in 5 people who live in the county—are without government-issued photo ID. Vulnerable populations who lack a government-issued photo ID card face major difficulties opening a bank account, cashing a check, registering children for school, or getting a prescription filled. They can feel at risk when interacting with police, leading to fewer individuals reporting crimes or cooperating as witnesses. Without an ID, senior citizens, immigrants, homeless individuals, re-entering citizens, foster youth, and others cannot show where they live or fully be a part of the community.
How it works: Local governments can set flexible ID policies that respond to local needs and conditions. The cards can be provided to residents for free or at a nominal cost. Under state and federal law, counties have the full legal authority to create a Municipal ID program and to establish protections for the safety and privacy of residents who apply for ID cards.
Who supports Municipal ID: An eighteen-member coalition has called on the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas to create a municipal ID program. To see the letter asking the Unified Government to make Wyandotte County a safer and more welcoming place, click here. In addition, the Board of Education in USD 500 and the Kansas City, Kansas Community College Board of Trustees have both voted to endorse the creation of a municipal ID program in Wyandotte County. Learn more about Municipal ID.
Why a Municipal ID: Municipal IDs have worked in other cities across the country; these programs have resulted in increased crime reporting and significant reductions in crime. Dozens of cities have already issued ID cards and established protections for vulnerable residents, resulting in more vibrant communities, improved access to financial services, and better police-community relations.
Philadelphia will begin issuing municipal IDs in January 2019. The city’s mayor made the cards a priority after taking office in 2016, and proponents noted that municipal IDs can help domestic violence survivors and victims of fire who had to leave behind vital documents, elderly people without driver’s licenses, and the homeless." In Washtenaw County, Michigan, community health centers and local pharmacies recognized a linkage between IDs, health care access, and access to needed medications and have implemented a policy to accept the Washtenaw ID as proof of identity when obtaining health care, prescribed medications, or regulated over-the-counter medications. Providence, Rhode Island, launched its program "with the hopes of making city services more inclusive while promoting community pride." Little Rock, Arkansas, recently launched their municipal ID program with great support for the city's police chief, who believed that the cards would increase trust between officers and the Hispanic community. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, the mayor and city council are in favor of a pending municipal ID ordinance. See below for a list of more cities that have instituted municipal ID programs.
When all of a community's members can access the benefits of identification, the community as a whole becomes more economically and socially vibrant. The streets are safer, and the people are healthier. There is better trust between law enforcement and community members, local business can truly thrive, and neighbors are more connected.
18. New Brunswick, NJ