The Governor’s Disabilities Council has asked the Senate leadership to enlist persons with disabilities in the bill that would authorize the issuance of identification cards to certain residents in the CNMI.
The council was referring to House Bill 11-197, which seeks to authorize minors, senior citizens, and individuals from the Freely Associated States to obtain identification cards from the Office of the Mayor for each senatorial district.
Thomas Camacho, executive director of the council, said citizens with disabilities could also benefit if they were included in the measure.
Camacho said businesses that provide discounted prices and services often offer such privileges only to students and senior citizens who are 59 years and older.
“For the purpose of receiving discounted prices, services or other privileges and benefits for persons with disabilities, there’s practically none in existence except through the form of an identification card,” Camacho said in separate letters to Senate President Paul Manglona and Majority Floor Leader Pete Reyes.
Camacho said there are more than 800 citizens with disabilities in the CNMI who may benefit from certain programs offered by some establishments if they were properly identified.
“The council is working towards systems change by advocating to expand available privileges and benefits for persons with disabilities,” Camacho said.
HB 11-197 was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year and is now awaiting Senate action.
The issuance of resident ID cards was deemed essential specifically for residents who do not have driver’s license.
“The elderly, minors individuals from the freely associated states who live and work in the Commonwealth are usually confronted with certain life-situations such as when cashing checks, picking up a certified-registered mail, or treated at the hospital to submit or show proof of identification such as motor vehicle operator’s license before service is rendered,” the House Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations said in recommending the passage of the bill.
The bill would also be a revenue-generating measure for each of the CNMI’s municipal governments.
Under the bill, the municipal government would charge $15 for issuance of identification card. (MCM)