Milwaukee Common Council Passes Local IDs

By a 14–1 Vote, Common Council Sides with Diverse Coalition to Create ID Cards Available to All in Milwaukee

This morning the Milwaukee Common Council adopted the 2016 amended budget including funding for Milwaukee IDs. The legislation directs the city to partner with Milwaukee County to create a task force that will make the ID card, and sets aside money to fund the program the task force creates.

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors will vote on their 2016 budget including funding for the county’s participation in the local ID task force on November 9th. If created, the joint task force is expected to create the program before the end of 2015. The cards would be issued beginning in the first quarter of 2016.

The organizations supporting local IDs for Milwaukee include St. Ben’s Community Meal, Project Return, Wisconsin Jobs Now, Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, and Voces de la Frontera.

“I’m glad that the common council made the right choice and I hope the county will do what is right also and make this a reality,” said Livia Rowell-Ortiz, a transgender community leader.

“LGBT homeless youth, victims fleeing abusive situations, immigrants, and especially transgender people whose identity and name do not match birth records need the legitimacy that a Milwaukee ID will provide,” said Karen Gotzler, Executive Director of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center. “It shows their identity and confirms their connection to our Milwaukee community to access critical services.”

“In many cases, a lack of a government-issued ID is a barrier to domestic violence victims who are attempting to escape abusers,” said Tony Gibart, Public Policy Director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “Providing the opportunity for people to easily obtain a local ID would address these problems.”

“We have homeless people at St. Ben’s who constantly come to the doors saying they need help in trying to get an ID,” said Br. Rob Roemer, OFM Cap, Director of St. Ben’s Community Meal Program. “Often they cannot get their birth certificate that is required to get a State ID. We encourage the county to start offering other forms of ID’s that help the homeless and poor.”

“Today I am filled with joy and I feel stronger,” said Guadalupe Romero, member of Voces de la Frontera. “Now all that is left is to have the card in our hands, when we will be able to say victory is ours. I am grateful to all the people who voted to support this and to all the people who have come to give their testimony and support. I hope this struggle motivates our community as it does me to keep fighting for what we need, including immigration reform and restoring driver’s licenses in Wisconsin.”

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on November 03, 2015

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