On the last day of the legislative session last week, Alabama lawmakers passed a bill requiring the state to operate a driver’s license office in every county at least two days a week. The bill, by Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 99-1 on Wednesday. It had earlier passed the Senate by a vote of 24-3.There was no immediate word from Gov. Robert Bentley’s office on whether he will sign it into law. Bentley could let the bill die without his signature.
Last year, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency ignited a political firestorm when it announced it would stop driver’s license testing in 30 counties.
About one-third of the closed offices were in the predominantly poor, African-American counties in the Black Belt.
Sanders and others said the closings would disproportionately burden people in those counties by making it harder to get driver’s licenses, which many people also use for voter identification under the state’s photo ID law.