PHILADELPHIA — February 25, 2016 – Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez introduced today legislation that establishes a municipal photo identification for all Philadelphia residents. The bill, which is cosponsored by Councilwoman Helen Gym and Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., will increase residents’ access to City services, while providing cardholder benefits and discounts that leverage the best of the City’s partnerships with local businesses, financial institutions, and cultural centers.
“Photo IDs are an essential part of modern life, from opening a bank account to borrowing a library book to checking in at the emergency room,” said Councilwoman Sánchez. “Municipal IDs will unlock doors so that all Philadelphians can fully participate in our city’s vibrant economic and civic life.”
“There is no question that something must be done to help bring Philadelphians out of the shadows,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Our entire city benefits when all of our residents can legally own an apartment, open a bank account, and otherwise participate in our economy and society fully. I look forward to working with the Councilwoman and others to reach the most sensible and accessible option over the coming months.”
Councilwoman Sánchez’s bill provides that the City will issue secure Municipal ID cards to all Philadelphia residents upon proof of identity and residency. All City agencies will be required to accept the card, which will display information, including the cardholder’s photo, name, date of birth, and address, and excluding the cardholder’s gender and immigration status. Many Philadelphians currently unable to obtain a driver’s license and other forms of government-issued photo identification will be eligible to obtain a Municipal ID, because the program will be affordable; will allow applicants to submit proof of identity and residency through broader, modernized documentation requirements; and will prohibit the City from sharing, retaining, disclosing, and soliciting applicants’ confidential information.
“Municipal ID will tear down barriers for thousands of Philadelphians who may have been deprived of access to basic services, despite our city’s commitment to full inclusion,” said Councilwoman Helen Gym. “This legislation will help ensure that all our neighbors are treated equally as citizens of Philadelphia.”
Upon final passage of this landmark legislation, Councilwoman Sánchez and Mayor Kenney intend to implement the nation’s most successful Municipal ID program by incorporating best practices of similar programs in New York, Washington, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
“I look forward to working with Mayor Kenney to build on the successes ID programs around the country,” said Councilwoman Sánchez, citing in particular the recent success of New York City’s ID program, which offers benefits to “IDNYC” cardholders ranging from one-year memberships to the Met to discounts on prescription drugs and even bleacher seats at Yankee Stadium.
“IDNYC is now woven into the fabric of New York City,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It is widely known as a sign of belonging, a key to services, a source of local pride, and the best deal in town. One year later, and over 770,000 New Yorkers are enjoying unprecedented safety, security, and access to the city thanks to IDNYC. I congratulate the strong leadership of Mayor Kenney and Councilwoman Quiñones Sánchez in their commitment to bringing Philadelphians out of the shadows and connecting them to the services they need.”
Municipal ID Fact Sheet.
Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez is a veteran activist with over 30 years of service to the City of Philadelphia, currently serving a third four-year term on Philadelphia City Council. More info at phlcouncil.com/MariaQSanchez
More on this legislation:
From the Philadelphia Tribune.
From Al Dia News.
From KYW Newsradio/CBS Philly.