Bill Seeks To Guarantee Acceptance of Tribal ID By Businesses

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota House Republicans may not trust using tribal IDs to register to vote, but at least some GOP members of the State Senate don’t seem to have any problems with businesses accepting them.

A Senate committee has given its full support to a proposed law requiring businesses to accept tribal IDs as proof of identity and age.

South Dakota law already requires banks and financial institutions to accept tribal IDs, but Democratic Senator Troy Heinert from Mission says he introduced the bill after hearing from tribal members that some businesses were not accepting their IDs for transactions such as cashing checks or purchasing tobacco and alcohol

Yankton Sioux vice chairman Jason Cooke says the proposed law would make it clear that tribal IDs are acceptable for all business transactions, while the present law keeps the odds against Native Americans all the time because business owners can refuse to accept tribal IDs to discriminate against tribal members.

To get an ID, tribal members must provide a copy of their birth certificate to tribal enrollment officers. In recent years, tribes in South Dakota have enhanced the security and information on IDs – which can be used to go through security at airports and to verify identity at voting booths.

The House last week shot down an effort by Democrats to add tribal IDs to the list of documents people could use to register to vote in the state. Heinert says voter registration is a separate issue but that he is looking into other legislation to allow tribal members to use the IDs for voter registration.

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