Wider ac­cess to state ID

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - OPINION -

It was bit­terly cold out this morn­ing, but there they were, at the steps of the State House, young and old, ask­ing for a priv­i­lege most of us take for granted. For over a decade now, they have been pe­ti­tion­ing state leg­is­la­tors to do right by them.

I was in­spired by their re­siliency and faith. So, to­day I sent around a let­ter to my elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives urg­ing them to sup­port a re­cently in­tro­duced bill. It would ex­pand ac­cess to a driver li­cense -or to a state ID card,- to more NJ res­i­dents, en­abling their self-suf­fi­ciency for now they would be able to con­fi­dently iden­tify them­selves and -sub­ject to ap­pro­pri­ate test­ing, reg­is­tra­tion and in­sur­ance- could drive for such es­sen­tial needs as work, school, carry gro­ceries, or reach med­i­cal care. Sec­tors of our most vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents would ben­e­fit: se­niors, per­sons in re-en­try or re­cov­ery, im­mi­grants. They would gain con­fi­dence and in­de­pen­dence, and we would re­duce the num­ber of un­li­censed and unin­sured driv­ers on our roads.

Large ar­eas of NJ lack ad­e­quate pub­lic trans­porta­tion. This forces many house­holds to drive at least one car. But many can’t ob­tain a driver li­cense due to the oner­ous doc­u­men­ta­tion re­quired (the in­fa­mous 6-points of ID). This leg­is­la­tion would cre­ate two types of li­censes. One would com­ply with fed­eral REAL ID re­quire­ments to board air­planes, vote, etc. The other would sim­ply re­quire proof of id and NJ res­i­dence.

In­creas­ing ac­cess to so­cial in­clu­sion and phys­i­cal mo­bil­ity in NJ is long over­due. Let’s hope our elected of­fi­cials steer this leg­is­la­tion to its prompt adop­tion be­fore the year is out.

— Maria Juega, Prince­ton

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