Hijabs allowed in new Minn. driver's license bill

A St. Cloud lawmaker says he has changed his bill that would have barred all headwear in driver's license photos to allow for religions headwear.

Rep. Steve Gottwalt says his new bill is a compromise between public safety and cultural respect.

The Republican introduced a bill in 2007 and again this year that would have banned all headwear in driver's license photos to make them easier for law enforcement to use.

It created an uproar among Muslims who said the restrictions would discriminate against people whose religion requires covering their head.

The new language in the bill would require driver's license photos to present an image of the full head from top of hair to shoulders - the same requirements as U.S. passports.

Gottwalt says the changes strike a fair balance between ease of identification while allowing religious headwear, including the hijab worn by many Muslim women.

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(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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