Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) is reaching out to legislators with a plan to reopen the 31 driver’s license offices recently closed in the state, government sources told AL.com. The move comes after Alabama came under fire for the closures. The state requires a photo ID to vote and many of the offices being shuttered lie in Alabama’s “Black Belt,” where poor and minority voters are already less likely to have access to the required IDs.
Officials say that Bentley is considering a plan to use a bridge loan from the governor’s emergency fund to staff the offices. Bentley asked lawmakers from the rural areas where the DMVs are being close for feedback on the idea, but hasn’t fully committed to it yet, according to AL.com. The governor’s office did not comment on the AL.com story.
In exchange, the governor has asked rural and black lawmakers to back permanent funding for the DMVs when the legislature returns, AL.com said. The closures had already become mired in a legal fight between the legislature and the governor, as Bentley has suggested that lawmakers acted outside their authority in the budget bill that forced the closures.