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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 21, 2020 04:43 PM
From: Senator Camera Bartolotta
To: All Senate members
Subject: Waiving Photo Identification Fees for Vulnerable Pennsylvanians
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to waive the fee for state issued photo identification (ID) cards for vulnerable Pennsylvanians. 

Our Commonwealth has one of the highest fees in the country set at $31.50 to obtain a non-driver photo ID. This amount is prohibitively expensive for vulnerable populations, such as Pennsylvanians attempting to reenter society due to homelessness, addiction or metal heath recovery, and Pennsylvanians who live with fixed or limited incomes. For these residents, a photo ID is necessary to enter public buildings, open bank accounts, access public benefits and social services, apply for jobs, and secure housing.

PennDOT currently may only waive the fee for photo ID if: (1) a person voluntarily surrenders his or her driver’s license due to his or her physical or mental condition, or (2) a person has failed to take or pass a physical, vision, law or driving examination ordered by PennDOT in connection with the renewal of a driver’s license. No other hardship waiver is offered.
That is why I am proposing this photo ID is made accessible to Pennsylvanians in need by waiving the initial fee, or one renewal, for anyone who presents documentation that they receive certain public benefits or who affirms in writing that they are homeless. This change would open the door to benefits, jobs, and housing for thousands of Pennsylvanians.
To date, 34 states and the District of Columbia offer either fee waivers or reduced fees for a photo ID. 
A waiver for the cost of a state-issued photo ID would allow these residents to access the vital resources necessary to foster autonomy in their lives, find employment, and contribute to the economy. Please join me in this effort by cosponsoring this legislation. 

Introduced as SB1211