Senate Elections Committee to hold public hearing on photo identification cards

MADISON -- Some Wisconsin lawmakers want to ban counties and towns from issuing local IDs. But this could affect a recently approved program in Milwaukee to do just that.

The Wisconsin Senate Elections Committee will hold a public hearing Tuesday, January 26th on Senate Bill 533.

This bill would prohibit towns and counties from issuing, or expending funds for the issuance of a photo identification card for any resident of the town or county, other than an employment-related identification card for employees of the town or county.

The bill also provides that an ID card issued by a city or village may not be used  for voting, registration for voting, or to obtain public benefits.  Under the bill, if a city or village  issues an ID card, the card must state clearly on its face that the card is not authorized for voting purposes.

The Wisconsin GOP is against local ID cards. But Milwaukee County and City officials believe they could help give people access to food stamps, healthcare and other assistance programs.

Funding for a program to issue local IDs was included as an amendment in Milwaukee County's 2016 budget.

Supporters of local IDs say they would help immigrant and homeless populations as well as victims of domestic violence, and transgender people who have difficulties getting a state ID.

While those against local IDs say they are misleading and could lead to fraud.

The local immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera will leave with several buses from Milwaukee, Racine and New Berlin today -- and will head to the State Capitol to say they are against the ban.

The public hearing is set for 1:00 p.m. at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

CLICK HERE to read Senate Bill 533: Relating to: regulating the production and use of photo identification cards by local units of government.