New law allows tribal ID for voting, other purposes

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Rep. Mursau shepherded bill through Legislature

Gov. Scott Walker last week signed a new law co-authored by state Rep. Jeffrey Mursau that allows the use of tribal identification cards for a variety of purposes.

Mursau, R-Crivitz, and state Sen. Jerry Petrowski, R-Marathon, shepherded the bill through the Legislature in response to discussions by the Special Committee on State-Tribal Relations, which Mursau chairs.

Senate Bill 488 allows the use of tribal identification cards for picking up prescription medications, purchasing alcohol, purchasing cigarettes or tobacco products, selling scrap, selling antiques, and selling secondhand articles to a pawnbroker.

“As chair of the State-Tribal relations committee, I’ve been working on this issue for a couple of sessions,” Mursau said. “Allowing the use of a tribal ID is especially important for our elder tribal members who carry it as their only means of identification. I’m thankful to all the tribes who provided feedback and traveled to Madison over the years and advocated for these necessary changes to our state laws.”

The federal government already accepts a tribal identification card as an acceptable form of ID for passports and proof of identification for voting.

“Tribal IDs look and feel just like a Wisconsin driver’s license and often require higher security to obtain,” Petrowski said. “This bill removes arbitrary barriers to tribal members by finally recognizing their identification cards for basic everyday activities.”