West Virginia legislator backs free IDs for the homeless

KEYSER, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia lawmaker says he’ll reintroduce legislation in January to help homeless people get identification documents needed to get jobs or apply for public benefits.

Delegate Gary Howell, House Committee on Government Organization chairman, says it would require the Division of Motor Vehicles to provide them for free to people living at shelters in the state.

Documents would include a photo identification card, replacement driver’s license or birth certificate.

The bill introduced last February didn’t get out of the House Judiciary Committee.

Howell, a Republican from Keyser in the eastern panhandle, says too often homeless people are “caught in a trap” where they can’t get needed identification documents without money or a permanent home. He says government shouldn’t block people trying to lift themselves up.

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