Bipartisan bill to provide free IDs to persons experiencing homelessness awaits Gov. Kate Brown's signature

This image shows samples of Oregon's ID, commercial drivers license and drivers license cards, as seen on ODOT's website. The Oregon Legislature on June 2 passed House Bill 3026, which now awaits Gov. Kate Brown's signature, and which paves the way for persons experiencing homelessness to obtain an ID card for free.

SALEM — A bipartisan bill which paves the way for persons experiencing homelessness to get a state-issued ID card at no cost passed both chambers of the Oregon Legislature on June 2, and now awaits Gov. Kate Brown’s signature.

House Bill 3026 will waive application fees for state-issued IDs for people experiencing homelessness, pending proof of their situation from an official homeless service provider by means of a signed waiver, according to information in a news release on Tuesday from the Oregon House Democrats. Reps. Zach Hudson, D-Troutdale, and Lily Morgan, R-Grants Pass, introduced the bill.

Pending Brown’s approval, the law is poised to take effect Jan. 1 and will ban the Department of Motor Vehicles from charging any fees related to applying for or issuing up to two free replacement ID cards within a card expiration period for individuals who are experiencing homelessness.

The fee-waiver will not apply to a driver’s license application.

“An ID is essential for daily life, yet many homeless people lack an ID card for various reasons, including loss, theft, or damage to the card, or an inability to pay for one,” reads the news release from the House Democrats. “Not having an ID could preclude someone from accessing the most basic services and facilities that each of us relies on to live in society, including banking, housing, jobs, government benefits like Social Security and food stamps, and even government stimulus checks, thereby compounding the difficulties of homelessness and preventing people from getting back on their feet.”

As an ID is an essential component needed to “do just about anything you could think of that people rely on everyday to live,” said Rep. Hudson in the release.

He said the solution is relatively simple and cheap, yet effective to overcoming a major barrier, and would be useful in helping people “get back on their feet.”

As many service providers already pay those fees for their clients, HB 3026 now shifts that over to the state and opens up funds for other vital services those organizations can offer.

HB 3026 complements an existing law that enables persons experiencing homelessness in Oregon to obtain a free or reduced-cost birth certificate, according to the release.

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