Advocacy In Action: Laws and Rules Committee Discusses Municipal ID Program for Kingston

Last night, among a crowd of nearly forty City residents, the members of the Laws and Rules Committee discussed the idea of the creation of a Municipal ID program for Kingston. Among the reasons given to establish such a program are, “to improve public safety, to enable all residents to participate fully in the community, to alleviate discrimination in seeking employment or housing experienced by trans individuals in obtaining identification cards that reflect their gender identity..these are a few of them. A municipal identification card would encourage crime reporting and witness cooperation, enable more City residents to open bank accounts, access parks or other public facilities, and receive resident discounts at local businesses, events, and arts institutions. The card could function as a public transportation pass, library card, resident golf card, and parking meter card all in one. The cards would also benefit children and youth who become lost and normally possess no identification or emergency contact information and elderly citizens who no longer drive and therefore no longer possess a valid driver's license.”

In that spirit, Alderman Rennie Scott-Childress submitted a draft piece of legislation for the committee’s consideration. That draft law can be found here. Aldermen Doug Koop, Bill Carey, Patrick O’Reilly, Jeffrey Morrell and Rennie Scott-Childress are the members of the committee, and Alderwoman Andrea Shaut, though not a member of the committee, was also present for the discussion. In the legislation, the Municipal ID outlines that the ID’s would be issued by the City of Kingston through the city clerk’s office.

City Clerk Carly Winnie and her assistant Dee both expressed some concerns about staffing capacity to process and issue the ID’s, as well as the legal liabilities and limitations associated with them, among other things. One example given was that they felt it would be an awkward position to be issuing an ID that by NYS law they could not then accept as valid for obtaining vital records. The Aldermen were open to the idea of another City department issuing the ID-the Human Rights Commission was discussed as a possible alternative.

All six council representatives expressed full support for the legislation, and as a show of good faith approved a resolution committing to pursuing this program. Please note that the resolution does not make the program law yet, but is merely a record of their committed intent to tailor the language of the draft law to Kingston specifically and figure out the particulars of how exactly to administer the program.

The full discussion can be viewed on our Rise Up Kingston Facebook page.

-Cassandra

Cassandra BurkeComment