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Anthony TataHey, we know former Wake schools boss Anthony Tata is both not a lawyer and new in his job as DOT Secretary, but how long does it take to read a three-page letter?

Two weeks ago, the new Transportation secretary said he’d do whatever the law required on the question of issuing driver’s license to young immigrants who’d obtained “deferred action” status under President Obama’s new initiative from last summer. One week ago, the state Attorney General told him what the law says (a fact not really open to dispute) in a three-page letter.  Here’s the conclusion:

“As such, N.C. Gen. Stat. 20-7(s) , which states that DMV shall issue a drivers license of limited duration to persons who present valid documentation demonstrating deferment and meet all other statutory requirements, requires that such license be issued.”

It’s now been a week and Tata is still “reviewing it.” Meanwhile, thousands of good kids suffer for no good reason. Come on, General, decide.

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DACA DOT protestersAbout 50 young people gathered on a frigid morning outside the offices of the state Department of Transportation in downtown Raleigh today to protest the Department’s obstruction and foot-dragging in the issuance of driver’s licenses to young people who have obtained the right to be lawfully present in the United States under the federal government’s Deferred Action program (DACA).

With chants of “out on the streets and into our cars,” the young people demanded immediate action by the Department to heed a recent opinion from the state’s Attorney General that the issuance of licenses to such applicants is both legal and required. Read More

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A decision in one of the first cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this term may help thousands of North Carolina property owners whose land has been tied up by proposed but delayed Department of Transportation road projects — some for more than a decade — recover the damages they say the DOT owes them.

In Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. U.S., the Court considered whether the commission can recover for damage to its property caused by intentional upstream flooding by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The threshold question before the court was whether that flooding was a “taking” under the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, which provides that no private property can be taken for a public purpose without just compensation.

That’s also the issue property owners along the Northern Beltway in Winston-Salem have put before the court there in dozens of complaints filed against the DOT over the past year. Their parcels and some 2000 others lay in the path of the proposed beltway, spanning from U.S.158 north to U.S. 52 in western Forsyth County through to U.S. 311 in eastern Forsyth County. Read More