Montana ID Price Gouging Hits in July

by lizard

I found out today the Motor Vehicle Division of the Montana Department of Justice will be doubling the cost of state ID’s in July, from $8.oo to $16.oo. The reason? These new ID’s will now be 8 year ID’s instead of the measly 4 years they are now. So if you’re looking to replace a lost or stolen ID—not a rare occurrence—it’s going to cost you double.

The reason I know all this is because the information was offered, quite unsolicited, by the nice lady I happened to be talking to at Missoula’s Motor Vehicle Division.

She went on to say that this increase was not “asked for”. Apparently this decision to increase cost came from our lovely state legislature, though I haven’t verified that. I asked: would a 4 year option still be available? She replied: no.

Maybe someone should give Tim Fox a call and ask him why squeezing more money from Montanans for essentially the same state issued product is necessary.

If you’re already barely scraping by, an increase like this hurts. To get anything done, even if you’re without a roof over your head, you NEED an ID, which makes this needless gouging even more despicable.

I couldn’t find anything about this increase in local media, or on the Montana Department of Justice website, but I didn’t look too closely. If anyone knows more, comments are always welcome.

  1. Big Johansson

    Look at the bright side.

    An out of state student can fake street status and pay the 8 bucks and vote in several elections.

  2. Tim in MT

    It seems a bit irresponsible to post something on heresay. Honestly, would it be that hard to call Deer Lodge or Helena or where ever to confirm? And I’d hardly call a fee impact “gouging.” Gouging implies a large price increase purely for profit with no relation to actual cost. I don’t think you’ve really established that.

    • lizard19

      I have no reason to believe this state employee was lying. I put in a call to someone higher up, and haven’t heard back yet.

  3. hoffilosophy

    This is a pretty misleading post lizard. As it stands, a person doesn’t have to renew their drivers except for every 8 years while an individual who only had a state ID, which includes many people with disabilities and older adults who don’t/can’t drive, have to renew their IDs every 4 years. I’m pretty sure that a person’s ability to drive changes more often than their identity so extending the time that their IDs are valid, to at least the same amount of time that a drivers license is valid, is just common sense in my mind. That’s all that HB 498 did. The per year price ($2/yr) for IDs didn’t change, they just extended the amount of time IDs are valid from 4 years to 8 years meaning that at the time of issue you are paying for 8 years rather than 4, hence the $16 rather than $8.

    • lizard19

      if having an 8 year state ID is preferable, then why not give consumers a choice between that option and a 4 year option? without choice the added cost is being unilaterally imposed for anyone who has to replace their ID.

      I was pretty clear in my post that I was operating on limited information, so thank you for the info about which house bill this was, mr. “‘hoffilosophy”. with the limited legislative time, and all the critical issues that didn’t get addressed, I’m sure glad this important issue got fixed.

      • hoffilosophy

        In that argument, why not give drivers a 4 year option to renew their drivers license? This bill was just about putting some equality into the time IDs are valid to match that of a drivers license and so people can renew every 8 years instead of having to go through the hassle of going to the DMV every 4 years. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no added cost overall, you’re just paying for an extra 4 years at the time of issue…the amount you’d have to pay after 4 years anyways.

        • lizard19

          there’s intentions, and there’s results, and while you assert “nothing more, nothing less” with this legislation to reduce “hassle,” the state employee who talked to me made the choice to inform me about the increased cost, probably because she and her coworkers will be dealing with the increased frustration from folks who won’t care about the 4year/8year argument, because they are living check to check.

          I will concede the title of this post is sensational. gouging is not how most people will see spending an extra 8 bucks for an extra 4 years of validity issued by the state. but for people who feel the pinch of any unexpected extra cost, the result of this legislation doesn’t help.

          especially after the result of Montana’s successful spite club, denying medicaid for struggling Montanans.

          • hoffilosophy

            Comparing this to the rejection of Medicaid expansion is like comparing bananas to submarines. This is really nothing more than to make getting/renewing an ID on par with getting/renewing a drivers license. You, and apparently someone at the DMV, is trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill, IMO.

            • lizard19

              did anyone ask for this legislation? is renewing a DL/ID every 4 years really that big of a hassle?

              as for the DMV lady, I’m really glad she gave me a heads up, and I hope she tells other people, like social workers, because I do foresee more frustration at the already frustrating requirements of acquiring identification.

  4. Pogo Possum

    Here you go Lizard.

    HB 498 introduced by Democratic Representative Ellie Hill at the request of the Montana Association of the Blind, the Montana Department of Transportation and Montana Attorney General’s Office.

    According to Ellie in her testimony, Montana state law requires people to show a valid state issued ID to drink alcohol, go to the bank and travel on an airplane. Most Montanan’s use their driver’s license as their state issued ID which doesn’t have to be renewed for 8 years. However, Ms. Hill points out, because “blind people don’t drive”, blind and disabled people cannot obtain a drivers license. Blind and disabled people were required to renew their state issued ID every 2 to 4 years which they saw as an unfair burden.

    Therefore, the Montana Association of the Blind requested they have the same rights as people who drive and to change the law so they only have to renew their ID every 8 years the same as people who can obtain a driver’s license. Ms. Hill stated there was no opposition to the Bill in Committee and it passed 3rd reading 97-0.

    Makes sense to me.

    You can listen to her testimony here:

    HOUSE BILL NO. 498
    Section 1. Section 61-12-504, MCA, is amended to read:
    “61-12-504. Fees for identification cards — expiration of cards. (1) Fees not in excess of $8 for Upon application for an identification cards card issued pursuant to this part, a fee of $16 must be collected and deposited in the general fund, except that the fee for a card issued under subsection (3)(b) is $8.
    (2) A person with a disability, as defined in 39-30-103, may obtain a free identification card. An individual discharged from any correctional facility must be furnished a free identification card upon release, discharge, or parole.
    (3) (a) An identification card expires on the anniversary of the date of birth of the holder 4 years after the date of issue. Except as provided in subsections (3)(b) and (3)(c), an identification card expires on the anniversary of the cardholder’s date of birth 8 years after the date of issue.
    (b) An identification card issued to a person who is under 21 years of age expires on the anniversary of the cardholder’s date of birth 4 years after the card’s issue date.
    (b)(c) An identification card issued to a person whose presence in the United States is temporarily authorized under federal laws expires, as determined by the department, no later than the expiration date of the official document issued to the person by the United States citizenship and immigration services of the department of homeland security that authorizes the person’s presence in the United States.”
    Section 2. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 2013.
    – END –

  5. Pogo Possum,

    Thanks for the TOTALLY accurate and thorough summary of the bill. (Want to work for me? Seriously. Well done!)

    The bill had virtually no opposition and it was an effort to create equity for individuals who purchase identification cards in lieu of driver’s licenses. I was asked to carry the bill by a Missoula constituent, the President of the Montana Federation for the Blind… a helluva nice guy.

    As you pointed out, in our post-9/11 nanny-state, we need an state-issued I.D. to take a leak anymore and for people who don’t drive (like blind and disabled people), they were forced to operate by more onerous standards to obtain and maintain that I.D. than someone who is able to obtain a simple driver’s license.

    In short, they were forced to go back to the DMV more often than necessary just because they can’t drive. Folks still have the option to purchase the four year I.D. if they want. The bill created options and I don’t believe it “gouges” Montana consumers whatsoever.

    Now, somebody write a post about why the Governor should absolutely call a special session to pass Medicaid expansion and/or why it will be the number one issue going to the ballot next year. I am still disgusted by its failure last session.

    Rock n’ roll,

    • lizard19

      maybe there’s an issue with how this is being interpreted by the motor vehicle department, because I put in a call today just to make sure I have been told accurate information, and the person I talked to, after speaking with her supervisor, confirmed that, if you’re over 21, a 4-year state ID is not an option.

  1. 1 Partisan Capitalizes on Uber Snafu | Reptile Dysfunction

    […] Personally, I’m not surprised those who wrote and supported this bill failed to see this insurance problem. Why? Because one of those co-sponsors didn’t anticipate how the increase in price for getting a Montana ID could impact poor people, something I also wrote about: […]

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