Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Mayor Holds Public Hearing Over Municipal ID Cards Inside Council Chambers

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Supporters of the city's plan to create municipal ID cards lined up to speak at a hearing this afternoon that Mayor Bill de Blasio held in a somewhat unusual location - inside the City Council's chambers. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

It is the latest sign of the blurred line between the two sides of City Hall. Mayor Bill de Blasio opted to hold a well-attended hearing on the city's municipal ID card legislation in the chamber where the City Council conducts its business. Mayoral hearings are traditionally held in the Blue Room in the mayor's wing of City Hall.

"I just think this is a really important moment to note the incredible teamwork between the administration and City Council in getting this done," de Blasio said.

An aide to the mayor said the location was chosen to accommodate the large crowd that turned out for the hearing.

The legislation allows the city to issue its own identification cards that any New Yorker, including immigrants in the country illegally, can access.

"For those who are undocumented or for folks who have been in other ways left out in our society, the municipal ID card represents a ticket out of the shadows," de Blasio said.

"What we're going to do is redefine what it means to be a card-carrying New Yorker," said City Councilman Carlos Menchaca of Brooklyn.

Only supporters of the legislation lined up to speak. The New York Civil Liberties Union has problems with the bill, but did not testify. Sources say the administration was unhappy with their planned remarks.

"We're concerned that the legislation that was passed by the Council doesn't include enough protections for the documentation that people will be required to share with the city to get the ID," said Johanna Miller, advocacy director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

New Yorkers seeking the ID card will have to prove they are residents by providing the city with documentation.

"Things like pay stubs and bank statements, your children's education records, that are otherwise protected by federal law, will now be held by the city and could be accessed by law enforcement through the issuance of a subpoena," Miller said.

In another unusual move, the mayor did not sign the ID card legislation after hearing from the public. Instead, he is planning to have a separate bill signing ceremony later this week. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP