Federal agency probing Alabama license office reductions

AP News
Posted: Dec 09, 2015 11:52 AM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Transportation will investigate whether Alabama violated civil rights law with closures and service reductions at rural driver's license offices.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement Wednesday that it's critical that license services be free from discrimination. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in programs that receive federal funds.

Alabama, citing budgetary concerns, in October shuttered 31 part-time offices where examiners gave driving tests once per week. The decision left more than a third of Alabama counties without a license office, including eight of the state's 11 counties with a majority African-American population.

Democrats decried the decision in a state that requires a valid state-issued photo ID to vote.

Alabama later agreed to reopen the offices one day per month.