- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Johnson County is issuing local identification cards to the public starting this week as part of efforts to help ensure immigrants and others can get access to local services.

The new community ID program is the first of its kind in the Midwest, the Iowa City Press-Citizen (https://icp-c.com/1ObuN49 ) reported. The IDs will be available to residents starting Friday afternoon, and they’ll feature the county logo and be embossed with a unique seal to prevent duplication.

County supervisors were the first to receive the local ID cards on Thursday. County Attorney Janet Lyness said their support was essential to the success of the program, which the Center for Worker Justice and the Iowa Federation of Labor helped develop.

“We really are kind of groundbreaking here in Johnson County,” Lyness said.

The program was proposed by Iowa City’s Human Rights Commission and Ad Hoc Diversity Committee last year. Supporters of the program say a county-issued ID would benefit thousands of residents who have difficulty obtaining the documentation required for a state driver’s license or ID card.

The Center for Worker Justice’s executive director has said that without such identification, residents often face obstacles cashing paychecks, renting an apartment, purchasing medication or reporting a crime to a police officer.

Lyness praised businesses that have agreed to accept the IDs and offer discounts on various products or services, such as passes to the Iowa Children’s Museum and Hancher events.

Applications for the county ID can be found online. Applicants are required to provide proof of identity, such as a green card or birth certificate, and proof of residence in Johnson County, such as a recent utility bill.

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, https://www.press-citizen.com/

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