Oregon Reps Pass Free ID for Homeless Bill

On June 2, the Oregon legislature passed House Bill 3026, a bipartisan bill that will waive application fees on state-issued identification cards for people experiencing homelessness.   

If signed by Governor Kate Brown, this bill will go into effect on January 1, 2022, and will prohibit the Department of Motor Vehicles from charging the regular $44.50 application fee for identification cards. This bill will also allow up to two free replacement cards within the IDS’ expiration period to qualifying people. Applicants can apply for the waiver by getting an endorsement from a local homeless services provider and filling out a form provided by the DMV.   

Although not the same as a driver’s license, identification cards are essential for daily life. Having an ID is required to access basic services such as opening a bank account, qualifying for state benefits like food stamps, applying for housing, and getting a job. Currently, many homeless individuals cannot obtain an ID card due to the application cost.   

In a news release from the Oregon House Democrats, Representative Zach Hudson, one of the chief sponsors of the bill, said, “This [bill] is a relatively simple and cheap yet effective solution to a major barrier that many people experiencing homelessness encounter that prevents them from even trying to become self-sufficient. With this bill, we’re trying to help people get back on their feet.”   

According to the Oregon State Legislature website, this bill does have a minimal fiscal and revenue impact as Hudson alluded to.   

This bill passed by a large majority of 21-7 in the Senate and is also adamantly supported by many homeless services providers across the state. Many homeless organizations already pay these ID fees for their clients and many supporters argue that pushing the fees onto the state will allow these organizations to use that money to fund other vital resources.   

House Bill 3026 currently sits on Governor Kate Brown’s desk, awaiting her signature.  

By Hannah Meiner