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Jesse White Questions Photoless IDs for Amish

By Prescott Carlson in News on Aug 18, 2011 7:40PM

2011_08_18_amish.jpg A new law catering to the religious whims of the Amish has Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White scratching his head as to how his office will implement it.

House Bill 1484 was signed into law by Gov. Quinn on Monday, which amends the Illinois Identification Card Act to carve out an exception for those with a "bona fide religious objection to being photographed or to the display of his or her photograph." The Amish generally believe posing for photographs is an "unacceptable act of pride."

The quandary for White is that the amendment is vague on details, simply stating that the "Secretary of State may provide by rule" identification cards without photos.

According to the Pantagraph, White brought up the new identification law during an interview at the Illinois State Fair on Wednesday, saying:

"How do you use [a photoless state ID] as a form of identification? You match the name with the face. I don't see how that could take place without a picture."

He added that the ID would make it difficult to board an airplane (yes, some Amish do fly in airplanes) and that "lawmakers may want to take a second look at it."

Illinois State Rep. Adam Brown (R-Decatur), who was a chief co-sponsor of the bill, told the paper that he envisions the Illinois State Police developing an entirely different database filled with information about the photo adverse, perhaps including fingerprints, which he says "could work very well."

Brown did not specify where the state police would come up with the money to implement this new system to accommodate the state's Amish community, which is currently estimated at just over 4,000 people.