Prostesters bring driver's license debate to AL Capitol steps

Published: Nov. 23, 2015 at 10:13 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2015 at 11:09 PM CST
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(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Protesters gathered on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol Monday to protest the closing and now part-time reopening of 31 driver's license locations.

The protesters held a small skit before the news conference to drive home their point. The new call is "ballot not just bottles."

Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, led the event calling for the 31 previously closed driver's license locations, mostly in rural sections of the state, to return to normal hours.

He said there was a lack in consistency with how state-owned liquor stores and driver's license offices were recently closed. He pointed out how some ABC stores were left open in the Black Belt despite them losing more than $10,000 a year, but driver's license locations in the same areas were closed.

Sanders argued it shouldn't be easier to get alcohol than get a driver's license.

Sanders blamed Gov. Robert Bentley for the closings. He said Bentley could open up the locations tomorrow if he wanted to.

Bentley's office said the closings were a result of a lack of funding for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. ALEA's driver's license division is more than 100 people under staffed.

According to ALEA, the 31 locations were closed because they didn't have the resources to properly staff all offices.

Sen. Hank Sanders didn't vote for any tax increases during the special sessions.

Sanders said he will continue to fight for the driver's license locations to be reopened.

Copyright 2015 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.