National digest: Victory on driving for young immigrants

July 7
NORTH CAROLINA
U.S. seeks delay of
voting-law changes

Sweeping changes to North Carolina’s voting law should be put on hold until at least after the November election, the Justice Department told a federal judge Monday.

Lawyers for the department and an array of civic groups said the Republican-backed measures were designed to suppress turnout among minorities, the elderly and college students — blocs that generally vote Democratic. Supporters of the measure said that they ensured fair elections and prevented voter fraud and that no group was disenfranchised during recent party primaries.

U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder is weighing whether to delay implementation of the law until a trial set for next year. The 2013 law championed by GOP lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory (R) makes more than two dozen changes, including requiring voters to present a government-
issued photo ID, ending same-day registration, trimming the early-voting period by a week and ending a popular high school civics program that encouraged students to register to vote in advance of their 18th birthdays.

— Associated Press

ARIZONA
Victory on driving for young immigrants

A federal appeals court has dealt a new blow to Arizona in its series of immigration-related crackdowns, ruling that the state cannot deny driver’s licenses to young immigrants who are allowed to stay in the United States under a 2012 Obama administration policy.

Arizona was one of two states that refused to issue licenses to the immigrants. Gov. Jan Brewer (R) called the ruling misguided and said she was considering appeal.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit found there was no legitimate state interest in treating young immigrants granted deferred action on deportation differently from other noncitizens who could apply for driver’s licenses.

Nebraska is the only other state to have made similar denials, and a federal judge this year dismissed a lawsuit contesting the state’s policy.

— Associated Press

MICHIGAN
2 sentenced in attack on motorist in Detroit

A judge on Monday sentenced one man to prison and a second to probation for their involvement in a brutal mob attack on a motorist who accidently struck a boy with his pickup truck in Detroit.

Wonzey Saffold, 30, was sentenced Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court to six years and four months to 10 years in prison for his role in the April 2 beating of Steve Utash, 54. Judge James Callahan later sentenced Bruce Wimbush, 18, to three years’ probation.

Both pleaded guilty in June to assault in exchange for the dropping of attempted-murder charges. Three others also pleaded guilty in the attack on the city’s east side, and two are scheduled for sentencing Thursday.

— Associated Press

Medical marijuana legal in N.Y.: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Monday that he had signed legislation making New York the 23rd state to allow medical marijuana. The plan forbids smoking of the drug and includes strict limits. Access to the drug will be limited to patients with very serious and terminal illnesses. The drug can be administered only through vaporizing, oils and edibles, and Cuomo reserves the right to disband the program at any time.

School custodian in Mass. dies from chemical exposure:
A custodian was found dead Monday at an elementary school in Plymouth, Mass., 40 miles south of Boston. Several public safety employees who responded to the scene developed symptoms of possible chemical exposure, police said. Chester Flattery, 53, the custodian for Manomet Elementary School, was found unresponsive around 8:15 a.m. The building was evacuated, and officials said a hazardous-materials team was attempting to identify the chemical agent.

— From news services

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