BOSTON – State Representative Steve Ultrino (D-Malden) and State Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover) announced legislation today ensuring no-fee access to state IDs for low-income Massachusetts residents.
The legislation was filed following a Dec. 18 article in the Boston Globe about Penny Shaw, a disabled elder rights advocate who was blocked from a state building because she had no state ID. With only $72.80 each month for discretionary spending, Shaw is unable to afford a $25 state ID fee.
“There are people living right on the edge, between their rent, their food, their heating bills, their transportation, and to come up with a $25 fee for a state ID can be prohibitive,” said Penny Shaw, who strongly supports the legislation. “Waiving this fee would be a big first step toward increasing access to state government, and would decrease the financial burden that’s a barrier for low-income people.”
“The state ID fee is a big hurdle for many low-income people seeking the help of state services and other resources,” said Representative Steve Ultrino. “Our state government should make it easier for people to pull themselves up, not stand in the way.”
“Disabled, elderly, and low-income people should not experience hurdles to accessing identification, and with increased security, we need to be mindful that every member of the public is able to access our shared spaces” said Senator Barbara L’Italien. “Government should be focused on making access easier for everybody. This bill will help folks who are low-income have the resources they need to be full participants in government and the community.”
Currently, Massachusetts residents must pay a $25 fee to receive a state ID from the registry of motor vehicles. Without a state ID, some residents lose access to public buildings, state and federal services, medical care, legal resources, and even the right to vote. The legislation eliminates the application fee for a driver’s license or non-driver state ID for individuals at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty line.