COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Columbus City Council has approved $9,500 to do a feasibility study on a municipal ID program.
The legislation passed on July 30th and states that a municipal ID could help disadvantaged populations like the homeless, immigrants and survivors of domestic violence.
Two faculty members from Franklin University are conducting the study. They plan on researching all the advantages and disadvantages of a municipal ID program.
“A lot of cities try and make it so there’s citywide benefits regardless of what your status is in the city,” said Dr. Alex Heckman.
Dr. Heckman and Dr. Chenelle Jones are co-researches on the feasibility study.
“We’re going to look at implementation. We’re going to look at scope. We’re going to look at cost that are associated with it and put all that together in a comprehensive report,” said Dr. Jones.
Right now, they’re in the preliminary stages of research. They plan to look at other cities who have successfully or unsuccessfully implemented a similar kind of program.
“We’re focused on the facts when it comes it’s the feasibility of it,” said Dr. Jones.
Member of One ID Columbus (https://www.oneidcolumbus.org/) Ed Hoffman already believes a municipal ID program will benefit several different populations.
“A municipal ID is a secure photo ID issued by the local community, which gives people access that they don’t have to government buildings, hospitals, open a bank account, enter school buildings,” he said.
Hoffman said 50,000-70,000 people in Columbus struggle with or simply can’t get a state-issued ID, including the homeless, victims of domestic violence and people who are undocumented.
He said a municipal ID card could help these populations access public services. It could also be used to get into museums or as a library card.
“We see it really as an anti-poverty measure in some ways, but beyond that also as an inclusionary measure,” said Hoffman.
Dr. Jones and Dr. Heckman said they plan to have the study completed in December 2018, so city council and the public will be able to make an informed decision on whether to move forward.