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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester City Council is being asked to consider whether Rochester should issue Municipal Identification Cards.

The Rochester Public Library will be making a presentation to the elected officials during the City Council Study Session Monday afternoon. According to the meeting's agenda, the proposal was brought to the public library by the Southeastern Minnesota Interfaith Immigrant Legal Defense organization.

Rochester city website
Rochester city website

The presentation indicates federal law allows city governments to issue their own identification cards and "do not have to consider the immigration or criminal status of an applicant before doing so." New Haven Connecticut has the distinction of being the first city in the nation to issue municipal ID cards in 2007. Northfield became the first Minnesota community to issue municipal identification cards last summer.

Under the proposal, applicants would have to produce two pieces of documentation to prove their eligibility. One would have to come from a list of Primary ID Documents:

  • Minnesota driver's license or ID card
  • Passport issued by the US or another country
  • Minnesota Tribal ID card
  • Permanent resident card or so-called "Green Card,"
  • W2

The second document could come from a list of secondary IDs:

  • A Drivers license or ID card for any state
  • Social Security Card
  • Certified Birth Certificate from any nation
  • Certified Marriage Certificate
  • Certified Secondary or Post-secondary School Transcript

If an applicant did not have any of those documents, they could also present a proof of residency document that is dated within 30 days of the application:

  • Utility Bill
  • Employment Pay Stub
  • Insurance Bill
  • Federal or State Income Tax or Refund Statement
  • Written Verification of Residence From Homeless Shelter, Hospital, or Social Services Agency

If the plan is approved by the City Council, it's anticipated Municipal ID Cards issued by the public library could be used to access municipal services, such as the public library. It's also anticipated that could be used by people seeking access to services offered by Olmsted County and picking up mail.

Rochester Public Library photo
Rochester Public Library photo

Supporters say pharmacies may also allow their use in picking up some prescriptions and some banks may allow for the caching of checks by a person presenting a Municipal ID Card. The presentation to the City Council also touts them as a low-cost and low-barrier solution for people with disabilities, and those ineligible for a driver's license. It also contends the program could improve relationships with law enforcement agencies and build shared civic pride and community identity.

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