Sen. Robert Myers, a North Pole Republican, smiles while on the Senate floor in early May. On Saturday the Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill he sponsored that would require the state’s Department of Corrections to issue state IDs to anyone leaving the state’s custody who does not have one at the time of their release. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Sen. Robert Myers, a North Pole Republican, smiles while on the Senate floor in early May. On Saturday the Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill he sponsored that would require the state’s Department of Corrections to issue state IDs to anyone leaving the state’s custody who does not have one at the time of their release. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Bill to offer incarcerated people in Alaska state IDs upon release heads to governor

The House passed the bill unanimously Saturday afternoon.

A bill to provide recently released incarcerated people with state-issued photo identification cards now heads to Gov. Mike Dunleavy after the bill unanimously passed the Alaska House of Representatives Saturday afternoon.

The bill would require the state’s Department of Corrections to issue state IDs to anyone leaving the state’s custody who does not have one at the time of their release. The IDs would be valid for 180 days. It passed both chambers of the Legislature unanimously.

[Capitol Live: Special session sees certain amid budget battle]

According to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Robert Myers, a North Pole Republican, the bill would assist formerly incarcerated people in transitioning back into society by having an ID to help access essentials like employment, housing, medication, or other necessities.

The bill has received several letters of support from around the state since its introduction.

Juneau Reentry Coalition co-chair Teri Tibbett and coalition coordinator Don Habeger sent a letter stating the current difficulties that incarcerated people can experience in obtaining an ID after being released can hinder successful reentry. They argued the bill would help change that, and urged its passing.

While on the floor Saturday morning, Rep. Sara Hannan, a Juneau Democrat, expressed her support for the bill.

“It’s the first step in getting out of prison is to obtain identification,” she said.

Myers told the Empire the bill does not have a financial impact on the DOC because it already has the necessary equipment to begin offering the IDs. He also noted that the bill already only targets a small group of incarcerated people who either didn’t have an ID before being incarcerated or had their ID expire while incarcerated, which contributes to why it won’t have a large financial impact.

Myers said he is sure the bill will be signed into law, adding he has already seen support from the administration.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807.

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