Charlie Sykes posted a press release from Rep. Brett Davis (“R”-Oregon) revealing that we the taxpayers are now on the hook for the full cost of drivers’ licenses and ID cards for inmates:
Madison) – Lieutenant Governor candidate and State Representative Brett Davis has learned that the Wisconsin Department of Corrections is now using state dollars to pay for driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards for prison inmates. Davis learned the policy change went into effect on July 1 of this year. Previously, inmates were charged for the licenses and ID Cards.
“As families across Wisconsin struggle to make ends meet, it makes no sense for the taxpayers to pick up the tab for driver’s licenses for inmates,” said Davis. “Governor Doyle should immediately end this ill-advised program. We shouldn’t be giving special privileges to prisoners.”
Obtaining a new driver’s license cost $43 including costs associated with the driving skills test, which, under the new policy, the state will also pay.
“Rather than giving an inmate a $43 break, why not help out a law abiding taxpayer, or use the money to balance the budget,” asked Davis. “These absurd spending programs continue to show Governor Doyle to be hopelessly tone deaf to the will of the people of Wisconsin.”
Davis also expressed concerns about the immigration implications of issuing State ID cards to prisoners.
“As the Doyle Administration not only issues but pays for ID cards for prisoners, I hope they are at least ensuring they are not giving a state ID card to a criminal immigrant who should not be allowed to stay in our state once they’ve shown they are unwilling to follow our laws,” said Davis.
Remember when Republicans, as part of their push for a requirement for picture ID at the polls, wanted to give those who couldn’t afford the then-$10 fee for a state ID card one for free, and the Democrats refused? Now, we get to pay $28 for a felon’s ID card/renewal driver’s licsense and $43 for a felon who needs to take a road test.
Revisions/extensions (10:38 pm 8/25/2010) - Commenter WestSideGuy over at Sykes’ place pointed out that the seeds of this were planted in the 2007 DemoBudget that Davis voted for. Let’s review Wis. Statute. Sec. 301.286, which was created by said DemoBudget (see page 1279):
Before an individual is released from prison upon completion of his or her sentence or to parole or extended supervision, the department shall determine if the individual has an operator’s license or a state identification card under ch. 343. If the individual has neither, the department shall assist the individual in applying for a state identification card under s. 343.50. The department shall determine if the individual is able to pay all or a portion of the fee under s. 343.50 (5) from the individual’s general fund account. The department shall pay any portion of the fee the individual is unable to pay from the individual’s general fund account.
Give Craps an inch by putting the taxpayers on the hook for the portion of a never-before-issued ID card cost that prison job pay doesn’t cover, he’ll take the mile of putting the taxpayers on the hook for fresh drivers’ licenses.