Final legislative report 2012

  • Published: June 1, 2012
  • Editor’s note: The bulk of this report focuses on the 2012 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature. The final section discusses outcomes of the special session that immediately followed.

    Though the 2012 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature ended May 16, county leaders from across the state are already hard at work with state officials to implement these newly enacted laws – chief among them the logging notification act and revised 9-1-1 statute.

    State legislators succeeded in their most basic responsibilities by passing 2012-13 budgets for the general and education trust funds, though the increasingly cash-strapped general fund budget is dependent on voters approving a constitutional amendment in September (see below for discussion of Alabama Trust Fund amendment).

    Through the efforts of commissioners and key county staff members, ACCA succeeded in passing 5 bills (outlined below) to improve county government – including a restructuring of funding for 9-1-1 services that has been in negotiations for two years. Unfortunately 2  ACCA bills that won passage in the State House were vetoed by the governor, so the 2013 legislative program will again feature proposals to address excess payments after tax sales and election expense reimbursement. Also vetoed was the bill to create a tax court outside the Department of Revenue, a proposal that also made changes to the Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

    The ACCA legislative team – Sonny Brasfield, Mary Pons, Sallie Gowan, John Hamm and Brandy Perry – monitored hundreds of bills this session. Many proposals were amended to address county concerns, and only one Danger Bill (discussed below) won final passage this year.

    The staff appreciates all county officials and employees who responded to requests to contact legislators during this year’s session. Again county government made its presence known in Montgomery and we were successful in deflecting several attempts to shift state responsibilities to counties or to utilize county funding to finance the delivery of state services.  Direct involvement from the local level is always the key to success here in Montgomery and that was certainly the case this year.

    Below you will find details on ACCA bills, danger bills, other bills of interest to counties (grouped by subject), local bills, and finally a discussion of the recent special session.

    ACCA BILLS

    Proper payment of deed and recording taxes
    Act 2012-494 (SB 216 Tammy Irons & Mac McCutcheon)
    This act will ensure proper payment of deed and recording taxes by requiring the buyer to submit proof of the property’s value. It calls for the Department of Revenue to create a form that will be submitted showing the actual price paid or actual value of the property. If the buyer does not present the form, the tax appraisal will be used. The act creates a penalty for anyone who intentionally fails to provide proof of the purchase price paid or actual value. It is effective Aug. 1. This new law is expected to generate an increase in recording fee revenue as counties receive a third of the proceeds.

    Tax exemptions for elderly and disabled
    Act 2012-313 (HB 120 Jack Williams & Priscilla Dunn)
    This act makes uniform the existing property tax exemptions for low-income elderly and disabled. To qualify for these exemptions of both state and local taxes, the income threshold will be $12,000 per household. This change will close a loophole that had allowed some elderly or disabled taxpayers whose spouses had healthy incomes to qualify for these exemptions. The act also puts the state Department of Revenue in charge of developing criteria and proof necessary for the disability exemption. It is effective Aug. 1 and should also positively impact counties because of the changes to the exemptions for those who are disabled.

    9-1-1 funding
    Act 2012-293 (HB 89 Mike Millican & Del Marsh)
    This act, which was developed after two years of negotiations, will establish a statewide 9-1-1 service charge intended to adequately fund the state’s 9-1-1 districts. It also alters the makeup and duties of the statewide 9-1-1 coordinating board. The effective dates for this act are staggered, with portions becoming effective on May 8, 2012; Sept. 1, 2012; and Oct. 1, 2013.  The new flat, statewide fee that will fund each 9-1-1 district in Alabama is not effective until Oct. 1, 2013. In the meantime, each district will continue to collect its local fee on landline phones.

    Subdivision regulations within jurisdiction of municipal planning commission
    Act 2012-297 (SB 236 Paul Sanford & Steve McMillan)
    This act will ensure that subdivision regulations are enforced where a city’s planning jurisdiction stretches outside city limits, which means that subdivision roads will be built to proper standards. The new law says that in unincorporated areas, county subdivision regulations apply in the planning jurisdiction unless one of two things occurs. Either the county and city can agree for the city to be responsible, or the city can trump the county’s authority as long as it complies with certain requirements. It only applies in counties that have adopted subdivision regulations, and it is effective Oct. 1.

    Severance tax on sand and gravel
    Act 2012-318 (HB 364 Elwyn Thomas/Steve McMillan & Gerald Allen)
    This act will boost enforcement of the existing severance tax by requiring the Department of Revenue to provide counties with information about entities paying the tax. It also makes technical corrections sought by the quarry industry, such as addressing situations where the tax should be paid by the business selling the finished product rather than the company selling the raw material and providing specific guidance for the taxing of product that is sold without ever being transported on public roads. It is effective Oct. 1.

     

    DANGER BILL

    Exemption for volunteer fire department associations
    Act 2012-544 (HB 185 Richard Laird)
    This act exempts associations of volunteer fire departments from all state and local sales, use and property taxes. It is effective Aug. 1. 

     

    BILLS OF SIGNIFICANCE TO COUNTIES

    Loggers’ use of county roads
    Act 2012-257 (SB 409 Tom Whatley)
    This law creates state standards for a logging notification system that preserves county authority to protect the condition of county roads and the traveling public. The system will simplify operations for the industry while providing counties with needed information. Local notice and permit programs that conflict with the new system are repealed to the extent they conflict with the new law. It is effective July 1.

    Alabama Trust Fund amendment
    Act 2012-490 (SB 147 Arthur Orr)
    This act proposes a constitutional amendment that would make substantial changes to the Alabama Trust Fund. The most important provision for counties is the 3-year withdrawal of almost $146 million per year in trust fund corpus to prop up the ailing state general fund budget. The amount coincides with a statute that requires repayment of money earlier withdrawn from the Alabama Trust Fund to assist the state education budget. Should this repayment not be made in any year, the Alabama Trust Fund corpus would be reduced and not replenished. The amendment also makes interest income adjustments agreed to by the ACCA that will benefit county governments over time. The amendment will be on the ballot during a special statewide election on Sept. 18, 2012.

    Gift limit under ethics law
    Act 2012-433 (HB 466 Jay Love)
    The 2010 ethics law limits gifts to public officials and employees to those of “de minimis” value. This act defines “de minimis” as less than $25 per occasion and a total value of $50 or less from any giver per year. This dollar figure will be adjusted every four years for inflation. The effect of this new law is that public officials and employees may receive a seasonal or other gift that does not exceed the limits listed above. This change will clear up much of the confusion that exists regarding the acceptance of such gifts by public officials. We anticipate that some further direction will be given by the Alabama Ethics Commission in the coming months. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Statements of economic interests
    Act 2012-509 (HB 136 Mac McCutcheon)
    This act makes the following changes to the law governing who is required to file annual statements of economic interests with the Alabama Ethics Commission:

    • Increases the threshold for filing from $50,000 to $75,000;
    • Allows the ethics commission to adjust the threshold for inflation annually;
    • Requires that every public employee serving as a supervisor must file, regardless of income.

    It is effective Aug. 1.

    Overtime pay and retirement benefits
    Act 2012-302 (HB 255 Jay Love)
    This law provides that a portion of overtime pay can be considered when calculating the retirement benefit for a member of the Employees’ Retirement System. Overtime pay that counts toward retirement is capped at 120 percent of base pay per employee.  For example, this change will mean that an employee with a base salary of $40,000 per year may earn retirement credit on not more than $8,000 in overtime per year. It was effective May 9.

    New retirement program for new hires
    Act 2012-377 (SB 388 Arthur Orr)
    This act creates new defined-benefit retirement plans for members of either the Teachers’ Retirement System or the Employees’ Retirement System who are hired after Dec. 31. Compared to the retirement plans available to existing employees, the changes include a reduction in the benefit paid at retirement time, an increase in the retirement age and a change in the employee contribution. These changes will apply to all newly hired county employees who begin work on or after Jan. 1, 2013.  The changes are designed to reduce the retirement cost of the state and, therefore, for county governments. It is effective Jan. 1.

    ONE SPOT Sales Tax Collection
    Act 2012-279 (SB 459 Slade Blackwell)
    This law calls on the Department of Revenue to develop an online site for filing and payment of certain state or local taxes. The taxes affected are sales, use, leasing and rental. The act specifies that there shall be no charge to taxpayers or local governments to utilize this single point of filing. It also creates a State and Local Advisory Committee, to which the ACCA has three appointments, to provide input to the commissioner of revenue. Once fully implemented, companies will be able to remit both the state and local taxes through this single point of filing. For county governments, the local sales tax revenue will be distributed by the state as directed by the county commission. Counties will be informed as this legislation is implemented in the coming months.  It is effective July 1 for tax periods beginning after Sept. 30, 2013.

     

    OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST

    Contracting and competitive bidding

    Road builders liability
    Act 2012-225 (SB 139 Clay Scofield)
    This act protects road contractors against liability for damage or injury alleged by third parties as long as the contractor has fully complied with all project specifications and the awarding authority has assumed responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the road or bridge. The Association participated in the negotiations on this legislation, ensuring that the law will not have a negative impact on counties. The law protects the right of the awarding authority to make a claim against the contractor for contract compliance issues. It was effective April 24.

    Prompt payment
    Act 2012-379 (HB 71 Bill Roberts)
    This act makes numerous changes to the law governing public works contracts. Key provisions include:

    • Requiring partial payments within 45 days after an estimate for partial payment has been accepted, with certain exceptions, or interest is charged;
    • Preventing changes to terms of payment after a contract has been advertised or executed;
    • Requiring final payment 45 days after work has been completed and accepted, or interest is charged;
    • Allowing either side to recover legal expenses and amount due plus interest if either party has to sue to force payment or repayment;
    • Reducing from 120 to 60 days the time a contractor has to make a repayment plus interest or face disqualification from future Department of Transportation or county contracts;
    • Requiring contracts to identify the source of funds for paying the contract, including whether funds are in hand or will become available in the future. When funds are not immediately available, the 45 days does not begin to count down until the funds are received;
    • Exempting contracts related to emergency response and recovery from prompt payment provisions.

    Counties will recall that this bill was strongly opposed by ACCA. The passed version of this bill, as outlined above, was changed significantly and should not have a negative impact on counties. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Database of public bids and requests for proposals
    Act 2012-407 (SB 30 Arthur Orr)
    This act, which does not apply to counties, requires the state to create an online database of many public bids and requests for proposals. It is effective Jan. 1.

    Competitive bid threshold
    Act 2012-462 (SB 14 Gerald Dial)
    This act raises the state threshold for requiring competitive bids to $15,000, the same as the county threshold. It does not impact county government, and it is effective Aug. 1.

    Cooperative purchasing for education
    Act 2012-557 (HB 504 Jim Carns)
    For local school boards, this act expands exemptions from the competitive bid law to include certain cooperative purchasing programs. The changes only apply to local school boards.

     

    Elections, campaigns and ethics

    Election officers
    Act 2012-173 (SB 133 Linda Coleman)
    This law states that the judge of probate or other appropriate election officials in a county may provide for the appointment of additional election inspectors and clerks to serve as alternates in case an appointed inspector or clerk is unable to perform his/her duties. The new law provides that the compensation paid to the alternates is eligible for reimbursement. It was effective April 2.

    Phone bank fraud
    Act 2012-461 (SB 11 Greg Reed)
    This act requires that phone bank calls identify who paid for the call, and it makes it illegal for anyone to misrepresent who is paying for a phone bank call. Enforcement is to be handled by the attorney general. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Campaign finance reports
    Act 2012-477 (SB 497 Arthur Orr)
    This act amends campaign finance reporting requirements to eliminate duplicate or multiple filings for certain time periods previously reported, to require that monthly and weekly reports include activity for the full prior month or week, to provide that required daily reports would include the reporting day and all days not previously reported, and to provide that all required periodic reports include all information from time periods not previously reported. It is effective Aug. 1.

     

    Employee benefits and human resources

    Child labor
    Act 2012-231 (SB 174 Jimmy Holley)
    This law makes a number of changes to the child labor laws. Counties should note provisions about what records should be kept and posted about employees younger than 19 and the reduced civil penalties for violations. It will be effective July 1.

    Unemployment for military spouses
    Act 2012-507(HB 121 Greg Wren)
    This act provides for spouses of active-duty military members to receive unemployment compensation if they voluntarily quit working to relocate because of military orders to change station, activate or deploy. It is effective Aug. 1.

     

    Taxes, fees and licenses

    Clarified exemption for diabetes supplies
    Act 2012-309 (HB 307 Ron Johnson)
    This law clarifies the existing exemption for prescription diabetic supplies (such as insulin syringes). It will be effective Aug. 1.

    Sales tax holiday for emergency preparedness supplies
    Act 2012-256 (HB 436 Bill Poole)
    This law created an additional sales tax holiday weekend for emergency preparedness supplies. For 2012, the holiday will be the first full weekend in July. In following years, the holiday will be the last full weekend of February. Counties have the option to participate. Counties wishing to participate in this year’s holiday have until June 22 to adopt a resolution agreeing to participate. Without such a resolution, the county sales tax will be collected on all purchases. It was effective April 26.

    Coal severance tax
    Act 2012-386 (HB 145 Bill Roberts)
    This act extends the severance tax on coal to 2021 and provides for the distribution of the proceeds. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Social Security numbers and licenses
    Act 2012-362 (HB 272 Howard Sanderford)
    This act removes the requirement that citizens provide their Social Security number when renewing licenses other than driver’s licenses. It is effective May 14.

    Tax on cigar wrappers
    Act 2012-425 (HB 277 Jim Barton)
    This law adds a new tax on cigar wrappers made of tobacco and a new business license on sellers of these wrappers. The proceeds of these changes will go to the state general fund. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Road and bridge funding
    Act 2012-400 (HB 543 Steve Clouse)
    This act increases the Department of Agriculture and Industries’ share of money generated by the petroleum inspection fee by reducing the amounts allocated to the Alabama Department of Transportation. As introduced, the bill would have also reduced county revenue. A Senate-passed amendment restored the county revenue. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Exemption for Alabama Marine Corps League
    Act 2012-513 (HB 249 Victor Gaston)
    This act exempts the Alabama Marine Corps League from paying or collecting any state or local sales or use taxes. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Exemption for metal held for investment purposes
    Act 2012-395 (HB 401 Jamie Ison)
    This act exempts certain metal held for investment trust purposes from only state sales and use taxes. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Court costs and bail bond fees
    Act 2012-535 (HB 688 Mike Hill)
    This act levies additional docket fees on civil and criminal cases, ranging from $15 to $45 per case, with the proceeds largely going to the courts and circuit clerks. On bail bonds, it levies a $35 filing fee plus a bond fee ranging from $100 to $750, with exceptions. These proceeds are distributed among court clerks, district attorneys, sheriffs and municipalities. These new revenues will not reduce any funds being paid pursuant to a local act. Counties receive no direct revenue from this act, but a portion of the initial fee ($3.50) and a portion ($21.50) of the additional bond fee are placed into the “sheriff’s fund” to be expended on the operation of the jail.  Portions of the act are effective June 21, and other portions are effective Aug. 1. The whole act is repealed effective Sept. 30, 2015.

     

    Economic incentives, business and tourism

    Coal incentives
    Act 2012-54  (HB 144 Bill Roberts)
    This law expanded existing tax incentives, under existing procedures for approval of abatements, to include the coal mining industry. It was effective March 1.

    ADO name change
    Act 2012-167 (HB 151 Alan Baker)
    This law changed the name of the Alabama Development Office to the Alabama Department of Commerce. The director of development is now the secretary of commerce. It was effective April 2.

    “Heroes for Hire” Act
    Act 2012-168 (HB 152 Duwayne Bridges)
    This law created state tax credits for employers who hire veterans and for veterans who start businesses. It was effective April 2.

    Data Processing Center Economic Incentive Enhancement Act
    Act 2012-210 (HB 154 Dan Williams)
    This law allows the governing body of a municipality, county or public industrial authority to grant abatements of certain property taxes and construction-related transaction taxes to data processing centers. It was effective April 19.

    Entertainment incentives
    Act 2012-212 (HB 243 Terri Collins)
    This law increased the amounts eligible for tax rebates and increased the annual cap for incentive allowed during a fiscal year for entertainment industry productions. It was effective April 19.

    Community development districts
    Act 2012-327 (HB 578 Mark Tuggle)
    This law created an additional class of community development districts. It became effective May 10.

    Incentives for investments in low-income communities
    Act 2012-483 (HB 257 Jamie Ison)
    The act establishes credits against the state income, financial institutions excise and premium taxes for investments in businesses in impoverished and low-income communities. This act was amended to protect the county portion of the financial institutions excise tax. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Alabama Tourism Attraction Incentive Act
    Act 2012-436 (HB 599 Rod Scott)
    This act allows a county, municipality or public industrial authority to abate certain property taxes and construction-related transaction taxes for tourism destination attractions. These attractions are also allowed to qualify for capital credits, and no county taxes can be abated without county consent. It was effective May 15.

    Tax incentives after natural disasters
    Act 2012-524 (HB 505 Bill Poole)
    This act amends a post-tornado 2011 law to provide further protections for tax abatements when properties are damaged or destroyed by natural disasters. This act is retroactively effective on April 15, 2011.

     

    Environmental issues

    Landfill moratorium
    Act 2012-434 (HB 556 Alan Baker)
    This act extends the moratorium on new landfill permits to May 31, 2014. It was effective May 15.

    Waste treatment facilities
    Act 2012-551 (HB 447 Ron Johnson)
    This act requires certain centralized waste treatment facilities to post a bond when seeking a permit or modification of a permit from the Department of Environmental Management. It requires these facilities to charge a fee, and this revenue will feed a fund dedicated to closing abandoned waste treatment facilities. It is effective Aug. 1.

     

    Criminal justice

    No texting while driving
    Act 2012-291 (HB2 Jim McClendon)
    This law creates a statewide ban on operating a motor vehicle while using a wireless communication device to read, write or send text-based communication, so it covers both email messages and traditional text messages. It is a primary offense, meaning law enforcement needs no other reason (such as speeding) to stop a driver suspected of texting while driving. Penalties range from $25 to $75. There are exceptions for contacting emergency services and drivers who are parked on the side of the road. Programming coordinates into a navigation system would be a violation, but reading or otherwise receiving the directions would not be. This act is effective Aug. 1.

    Filing a false instrument against a public servant
    Act 2012-209 (HB 17 Blaine Galliher)
    This law makes it a crime to file a false instrument against a public official, and it sets up a process for removing a false instrument which has been filed against a public official. It became effective April 19.

    Regulating pseudoephedrine sales
    Act 2012-237 (HB 363 Blaine Galliher)
    This law further regulates the sale of over-the-counter drugs containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which are used in making illegal methamphetamines, also known as meth or crystal meth. Most of the law was effective April 24, and one section takes effect Aug. 1.

    Prison industries
    Act 2012-194 (SB 63 Arthur Orr)
    This law allows private industries to locate their operations at state prisons to use inmates as their workforce. It was effective April 12.

    Blue Alert system
    Act 2012-178 (SB 180 Clay Scofield)
    This law creates a Blue Alert notification system to be used when seeking certain suspects who are connected to either the serious injury or death of a law enforcement officer or when a law enforcement officer goes missing in the line of duty. It is effective July 1.

    Impersonating public officials or law enforcement
    Act 2012-382 (HB 99 Randy Wood)
    This act makes it a crime to impersonate a public servant or peace officer in connection with a “sham” legal process. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Jail inspections by grand jury
    Act 2012-390 (HB 225 Joe Hubbard)
    This act specifies that grand juries are required to determine the condition of the county jail at least once a year. Under previous law the inspections were required whenever court was in session. This may include a personal inspection by the grand jury and a review of the jail’s inspection records. The grand jury may present its findings to the district attorney, sheriff and county commission for appropriate action. In the past, county commissioners could be indicted if the jail was found to be unsatisfactory, but that provision was removed with an ACCA amendment. It was effective May 14.

    Department of Forensic Sciences
    Act 2012-398 (HB 491 Terri Collins)
    If the Department of Forensic Sciences performs the duties of county coroner or county medical examiner, this act requires the county to pay the cost of these services. Only Tuscaloosa and Mobile counties are affected by this change. It is effective Oct. 1.

    Immigration
    Act 2012-491 (HB 658 Micky Hammon)
    This act makes a number of changes to the 2011 immigration law. The alterations include:

    • Making a military identification card an acceptable proof of citizenship;
    • Removing a citizen’s right to sue a public official to force the official to enforce the law more vigorously (citizens can instead petition the district attorney or attorney general to investigate if a violation has occurred and to bring court action);
    • Specifying that provisions of the law only apply to contractors and subcontractors who hire employees within the state;
    • Revising the penalties for businesses that violate this law;
    • Clarifying that the rules for public records transactions (formerly known as business transactions) only apply to buying/renewing car tags, application for/renewal of driver’s licenses, business licenses, commercial licenses or professional licenses;
    • Retaining the E-Verify requirement for businesses but without the affidavit.

    It was effective May 18.

    No social media for inmates
    Act 2012-514 (HB 258 Phil Williams)
    This act makes it illegal for inmates in custody of the state or a city or county to establish or maintain an account on any social networking website. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Secondary metals recyclers
    Act 2012-426 (HB 278 Bill Poole)
    This act makes numerous changes to the laws governing secondary metals recyclers. The revisions include altering the reporting requirements on recyclers, requiring reports to be kept by the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, providing civil immunity to theft victims for injuries related to the theft, and further restricting the purchases of certain types of metal objects. It is effective Aug. 1, though certain changes to reporting requirements are effective Jan. 1.

    Disarming law enforcement or corrections officers
    Act 2012-369 (SB 91 Tammy Irons)
    This act makes it a crime to disarm a law enforcement officer or corrections officer. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Sentencing Commission
    Act 2012-473 (SB 386 Cam Ward)
    This act adds additional people to the Alabama Sentencing Commission and makes existing voluntary sentencing guidelines for nonviolent crimes presumptive. If a sentence departs from these guidelines, the sentence will be subject to appellate court review. The act was effective May 15.

     

    Miscellaneous

    Constitutional reform
    Act 2012-275 (HB 357 Paul DeMarco) and Act 2012-276 (HB 358 Paul DeMarco)
    These acts propose constitutional amendments that rewrite the state constitutional articles on corporations and banks.

    Alabama Law Institute
    Act 2012-219 (SB 58 Arthur Orr)
    This law authorizes the Alabama Law Institute to receive grants or contributions from municipal, county, state, federal or charitable sources. It was effective April 24.

    Legal notices
    Act 2012-214 (SB 73 Cam Ward)
    This law establishes new limits on the charges that newspapers can impose for legal notices. Effective July 1, the advertising rate charged can be no more than the lowest commercial rate charged other customers – guaranteeing the governmental body the same discounts granted to other advertisers purchasing ads of similar size and frequency. This law also authorizes electronic publication of legal notices on the web. Newspapers publishing legal notices must also post notices online at no additional charge, and it requires notices to be posted on a statewide website. It will be effective July 1.

    Affordable Housing Act
    Act 2012-384 (HB 110 Patricia Todd)
    This act creates the Alabama Housing Trust Fund to provide housing opportunities for low- to moderate-income households without identifying a revenue source for the fund. When revenue is identified, counties will be among the entities eligible to apply for funding. It was effective May 14.

    ALDOT deputy directors
    Act 2012-392 (HB 355 Mac McCutcheon)
    This act authorizes the director of the Alabama Department of Transportation to appoint three deputy directors – one of whom may be the chief engineer – outside the state merit system with the governor’s approval. It was effective May 14.

    ALDOT chief engineer
    Act 2012-396 (HB 402 Mac McCutcheon)
    This act provides for the director of the Alabama Department of Transportation to hire a chief engineer outside the state merit system with the governor’s approval. It was effective May 14.

    Insurance fraud
    Act 2012-429 (HB 323 Steve McMillan)
    This act significantly strengthens the statutes on insurance fraud. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Local Government Records Commission
    Act 2012-532 (HB 631 Charles Newton)
    This act expands the membership of the Local Government Records Commission from 12 to 16, with one of the new seats going to a county administrator, appointed by ACCA, and another going to a sheriff. The number of meetings per year is reduced from four to two. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Municipal incorporations
    Act 2012-375 (SB 297 Jabo Waggoner)
    This act validates municipal incorporations after June 13, 2007, if any procedures were irregular. It was effective May 14.

    Call before you dig
    Act 2012-504 (HB 93 Ron Johnson)
    This act revised the One-Call Notification System, also known as Call Before You Dig. However, counties continue to be exempt from this law. It is effective Jan. 1.

    Public property donated to volunteer fire departments
    Act 2012-555 (HB 186 Richard Laird)
    This act allows volunteer fire departments and rescue squads to dispose of property donated by a public entity, unless the donor specifies otherwise at the time of the donation. It is effective Aug. 1.

    Storm shelters
    Act 2012-224 (SB 136 Paul Bussman)
    This law excludes certain prefabricated storm shelters from regulation by the Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission. It also requires storm shelter manufacturers to post a $20,000 surety bond with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA). AEMA is also given oversight over all storm shelters, both community and residential. This oversight includes authority to perform random inspections. This law was effective April 24 and is retroactive to Jan. 1.

     

    LOCAL BILLS

    Baldwin County

    Act 2012-336 (HB 619 Steve McMillan)
    Perdido Beach, corp. limits alt.

    Act 2012-488 (HB 748 Randy Davis)
    Baldwin County, sales tax levied, distribution of proceeds to Board of Education, const. amend.

    Barbour County

    Act 2012-301 (SB 473 Billy Beasley)
    Barbour Co., county board of education, School Tax District No. 1, ad valorem tax, increased, distrib. for education, referendum.

    Act 2012-281 (SB 474 Billy Beasley)
    Barbour Co., sales and use tax, county commission authorized to levy additional, 1/2 cent sales tax with distribution to county general fund, penalties.

    Bibb County

    Act 2012-332 (HB 707 April Weaver)
    Bibb County, court costs, additional increase in circuit and district courts for security of county buildings by sheriff.

    Act 2012-280 (SB 461 Cam Ward)
    Bibb Co., sheriff, deputies with 10 years service, authorized to receive badge and commission card and pistol without cost.

    Blount County

    Act 2012-447 (HB 665 Elwyn Thomas)
    Blount County, tobacco tax, penalties for failure to collect tax, Sec. 45-5-244 am’d.

    Bullock County

    Act 2012-282 (HB 714 Pebblin Warren)
    Bullock County, sheriff, authorized to participate in Employees’ Retirement System, Repeal Amendment 676 (Section 4, Local Amendments, Bullock County, Recompiled Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended), am’d, const. amend.

    Calhoun County

    Act 2012-322 (HB 519 Randy Wood)
    Calhoun Co., judge of probate, marriage licenses and petitions for adoption, additional fee, portion distrib. to Calhoun/Cleburne Children’s Center.

    Act 2012-340 (HB 701 K.L. Brown)
    Calhoun Co., absentee ballots, county commission authorized to manage, const. amend.

    Act 2012-484 (SB 524 Del Marsh)
    Anniston, Police and Firemen’s Retirement Plan, Act 608, 1951 Reg. Sess., reenacted, now appearing as Secs. 45-8A-22.60 to 45-8A-22.96, inclusive, repealed.

    Chambers County

    Act 2012-338 (SB 487 Gerald Dial)
    Chambers Co., tobacco tax, distrib., Sec. 45-9-244 am’d.

    Cherokee County

    Act 2012-205 (HB 467 Richard J. Lindsey)
    Gaylesville, corp. limits alt.

    Act 2012-242 (HB 557 Richard J. Lindsey)
    Cherokee Co., alcoholic beverages, sale of draft or keg beer or malt beverages authorized, approval by local governing body.

    Choctaw County

    Act 2012-323 (HB 549 Elaine Beech)
    Gilbertown, corp. limits, alt.

    Clay County

    Act 2012-337 (SB 476 Gerald Dial)
    Clay Co., tobacco tax, distrib., county legislative delegation office provided for, Secs. 45-14-244.02, 45-14-244.05 am’d.; Sec. 45-14-244.04 reenacted and added.

    Cleburne County

    Act 2012-546 (HB 468 Richard J. Lindsey)
    Cleburne Co., judge of probate, marriage licenses and petitions for adoption, additional fee, portion distrib. to county commission for Calhoun/Cleburne Children’s Center.

    Act 2012-321 (HB 469 Richard J. Lindsey)
    Cleburne Co., court costs, additional in domestic relations cases in circuit court, distrib. to circuit clerk and Calhoun/Cleburne Children’s Center.

    Act 2012-548 (HB 770 Richard J. Lindsey)
    Cleburne County, court costs, drug and violent crime reduction fee, criminal cases, distribution and circuit clerk and sheriff for Calhoun/Cleburne Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

    Colbert County

    Act 2012-451 (HB 706 Marcel Black)
    Sheffield, corp. limits alt. to annex certain property and the old Norfolk Southern Railroad Company bridge over the Tennessee River located partially in Colbert County and partially in Lauderdale County.

    Act 2012-85 (SB 90 Tammy Irons)
    Colbert Co., pretrial diversion program, eligibility for participation, offenses further provided for, fees, Secs. 45-17-81.12, 45-17-81.17 am’d.

    Coosa County

    Act 2012-419 (SB 520 Jerry Fielding)
    Relating to the City of Goodwater, authorizing elections to determine whether alcoholic beverage may be sold or dispensed on Sunday by properly licensed retail licensees serving the general public within the city.

    Covington County

    Act 2012-283 (HB 735 Mike Jones)
    Covington County, law library fee further provided for, const. amend.

    Cullman County

    Act 2012-307 (SB 462 Paul Bussman)
    Cullman, corporate limits alt.

    Dale County

    Act 2012-81 (HB 172 Steve Clouse)
    Dale Co., sheriff, pistol permit, fee, distrib., Act 85-608, 1985 Reg. Sess. Repealed.

    Act 2012-80 (HB 173 Steve Clouse)
    Dale Co., sheriff, additional expense allowance and salary.

    Dallas County

    Act 2012-169 (HB 266 Darrio Melton)
    Dallas Co., alcoholic beverages, Sunday sales authorized under certain conditions, referendum.

    DeKalb County

    Act 2012-166 (HB 128 Todd Greeson)
    Fort Payne, corp. limits alt. to deannex certain property.

    Etowah County

    Act 2012-184 (HB 512 Blaine Galliher)
    Etowah Co., elected officials authorized to participate in Employees’ Retirement System in lieu of supernumerary program, const. amend.

    Fayette County

    Act 2012-239 (HB 449 Alan Harper)

    Counties, Twenty-fourth Judicial Circuit (Fayette, Lamar, and Pickens), investigators for district attorneys to receive badge and pistol at D.A.’s discretion and to be hired pursuant to general law, Act 88-324, 1988 Reg. Sess., repealed.

    Franklin County

    Act 2012-453 (HB 752 Johnny M. Morrow)
    Franklin County, distribution of certain funds for economic development to the Franklin County Development Authority.

    Act 2012-226 (SB 187 Roger Bedford)
    Franklin Co., ad valorem tax, tax sales, redemption, duties regarding redemption transferred from judge of probate to revenue commissioner.

    Geneva County

    Act 2012-449 (HB 675 Donnie Chesteen)
    Geneva Co., sheriff, pistol permits, fee increased, Act 94-461, 1994 Reg. Sess. am’d.

    Greene County

    Act 2012-454 (HB 756 A.J. McCampbell)
    Greene Co., ad valorem tax, co. comm. auth. to levy add’l., distrib. to emergency medical services, referendum, termination date.

    Act 2012-422 (SB 564 Bobby Singleton)
    Greene Co., ad valorem tax, co. comm. auth. to levy add’l., distrib. to emergency medical services, referendum, termination date.

    Houston County

    Act 2012-445 (HB 617 Paul Lee)
    Dothan, pretrial diversion program, city authorized to establish.

    Act 2012-455 (HB 763 Paul Lee)
    Houston County, county commission, vacancies, special election to fill, retroactive effect.

    Jackson County

    Act 2012-197 (SB 378 Shadrack McGill)
    Jackson County, county officers, vacancies, special election, Amendment No. 846 (Section 1.50, Jackson Co., Local Constitutional Amendment, Recompiled Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended), const. amend, repealed.

    Act 2012-460 (SB 495 Shadrack McGill)
    Jackson Co., sheriff authorized to sell certain abandoned, unclaimed, or stolen property, and firearms, distribution of funds for law enforcement purposes.

    Act 2012-421 (SB 563 Shadrack McGill)
    Jackson Co., Tennessee Valley Authority payments in lieu of taxes, amounts to Economic Development Authority incr., amounts to muns. reduced, Act 2011-611 and Act 2011-654, 2011 Reg. Sess., repealed; Act 79-473, 1979 Reg. Sess. amended and reenacted.

    Jefferson County

    Act 2012-320 (HB 464 Jack Williams)
    Jefferson County, Legislative Delegation Office, employees, participation in Retirement Systems of Alabama allowed Merit System benefits and protections.

    Act 2012-196 (HB 498 Paul DeMarco)
    Jefferson County, motor vehicle license plates, renewal, cities authorized to renew, bonding, audits.

    Lamar County

    Act 2012-239 (HB 449 Alan Harper)
    Counties, Twenty-fourth Judicial Circuit (Fayette, Lamar, and Pickens), investigators for district attorneys to receive badge and pistol at D.A.’s discretion and to be hired pursuant to general law, Act 88-324, 1988 Reg. Sess., repealed.

    Lauderdale County

    Act 2012-417 (SB 471 Tammy Irons)
    Lauderdale County, lodging tax, distrib. of net proceeds by State Revenue Department, Act 86-441, 1986 Reg. Sess., am’d.

    Act 2012-420 (SB 536 Tammy Irons)
    Lauderdale Co., Council for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, established, members, duties.

    Lawrence County

    Act 2012-308 (HB 404 Ken Johnson)

    Lawrence Co., municipality located entirely outside of Lawrence County prohibited from imposing municipal ordinance or regulation in its police jurisdiction located in Lawrence County, regulatory functions and police or fire protection services in its police jurisdiction prohibited, except public safety mutual aid, const. amend.

    Lee County

    Act 2012-439 (HB 439 Mike Hubbard)
    Lee Co., court costs, additional in circuit and district court cases, distrib. to circuit clerk and district attorney.

    Act 2012-440 (HB 496 Mike Hubbard)
    Class 6 municipalities (Auburn), overgrown grass and weeds, nuisance and abatement procedures provided, assessment of costs for abatement, notice, appeals process

    Act 2012-366 (HB 682 Mike Hubbard)
    Class 6 municipalities (Opelika), overgrown grass and weeds, procedures to declare nuisance and abatement provided, assessment of costs for abatement, notice.

    Limestone County

    Act 2012-360 (HB 198 Mac McCutcheon)
    Limestone County (39th Judicial Circuit), pretrial diversion program, district attorney authorized to establish.

    Act 2012-240 (HB 483 Dan Williams)
    Limestone Co., Tennessee Valley Authority, additional payments in-lieu-of-taxes, distrib. further provided for, Act 79-501, 1979 Reg. Sess. am’d. (2010-20886).

    Macon County

    Act 2012-328 (HB 630 Pebblin Warren)
    Macon County, solicitor’s fee equal to fee for Fair Trial Tax Fund, distribution, Act 2009-347, 2009 Reg. Sess., am’d.

    Act 2012-456 (HB 767 Pebblin Warren)
    Macon Co., Economic Development Authority, board of directors, additional members to be added by 2/3 quorum of directors, members appointed by directors to serve four year terms, consecutive term restriction removed, county commission to distribute funds from severance tax, Act 93-875, 1993 Reg. Sess., am’d.

    Madison County

    Act 2012-361 (HB 218 Mac McCutcheon)
    Madison County, (Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit) of Alabama, Pretrial Diversion Program, fees further provided for, Act 94-392, 1994 Reg. Sess., am’d.

    Act 2012-442 (HB 552 Mike Ball)
    Madison County, lodging tax, distrib. to U.S. Space and Rocket Center Foundation, termination date, Act 2004-418, 2004 Reg. Sess., am’d.

    Act 2012-331 (HB 672 Mike Ball)
    Madison Co., circuit and district court, court administrator, appointment by presiding circuit judge, confidential employee under Unified Judicial System, Act 1040, 1973 Reg. Sess. am’d.

    Act 2012-418 (SB 504 Bill Holtzclaw)
    Madison, ad valorem tax, increased, use for education purposes, referendum.

    Marengo County

    Act 2012-215 (HB 473 A.J. McCampbell)
    Marengo Co., judge of probate, compensation determined based on population of county as provided by general law, Amendment 609 (Section 10, Local Amendments, Marengo County, Recompiled Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended), am’d., const. amend.

    Act 2012-446 (HB 636 A.J. Mc Campbell)
    Marengo County, motor vehicles, personal vehicle issuance fee for Marengo County increased.

    Marion County

    Act 2012-441 (HB 503 Mike Millican)
    25th Judicial Circuit, Marion and Winston County, court costs, assessment and distribution to Public Defender Fund, distribution after repeal of Act 720, 1978 Reg. Sess.; Act 2011-576, 2011 Reg. Sess., am’d.

    Marshall County

    Act 2012-206 (HB 476 Kerry Rich)
    Marshall Co., Tennessee Valley Authority, additional payments in lieu of taxes, portion distrib. to local boards of education.   

    Act 2012-195 (SB 380 Clay Scofield)
    Marshall Co., abolishing office of constable.

    Act 2012-228 (SB 415 Clay Scofield)
    Marshall Co., district attorney, appointment of investigators pursuant to Act 87-531, Act 87-531, 1987 Reg. Sess. Repealed.

    Act 2012-480 (SB 572 Clay Scofield)
    Marshall Co., Tennessee Valley Authority, payments in-lieu-of-taxes, distrib. to Marshall County Economic Development Office altered, Act 86-564, 1986 Reg. Sess. am’d.

    Mobile County

    Act 2012-235 (HB 231 Chad Fincher)
    Mobile Co., dangerous dogs, procedures for declaring dog dangerous or a nuisance in unincorporated areas of county, registration requirement, penalties, Act 2008-127, 2008 Reg. Sess. Repealed.

    Act 2012-236 (HB 232 Chad Fincher)
    Mobile Co., municipalities, contracting with sheriff for police services authorized, funding by municipality.

    Act 2012-245 (HB 256 Jamie Ison)
    Class 2 municipalities (Mobile), city council, vacancies filled by a special election, setting of date, Sec. 11-44C-22 am’d.

    Monroe

    Act 2012-241 (HB 507 Harry Shiver)
    Monroe Co., judge of probate, recording system established, additional recording fees and transaction fees, distrib. to Judge of Probate Fund.

    Montgomery

    Act 2012-82 (HB 125 Greg Wren)
    Montgomery Co., judge of probate, recording fee, use for improvement of record system, distrib. to Judge of Probate Fund, Act 591, 1965 Reg. Sess. Repealed.

    Act 2012-443 (HB 593 Joe Hubbard)
    Montgomery Co., Montgomery Industrial Development Board, two additional members appointed by county commission.

    Act 2012-448 (HB 671Greg Wren)
    Montgomery, retirement system, mayor authorized to increase employee contribution to eight percent upon approval of the retirement board, Act 2009-473, 2009 Reg. Sess., am’d.

    Morgan County

    Act 2012-165 (HB 51Terri Collins)
    Morgan Co., license commissioner, boat registrations, collection of voluntary contribution for Morgan County Rescue Squad, Inc.

    Perry County

    Act 2012-175 (SB 194 Bobby Singleton)
    Perry Co., sheriff, compensation, Legislature authorized to fix, regulate, and alter, const. amend.

    Pickens County

    Act 2012-204 (HB448 Alan Harper)
    Pickens County, court costs in criminal cases in district, circuit, and municipal court, drug enforcement fee increased, distribution, Act 2010-590, 2010 Reg. Sess., am’d

    Act 2012-239 (HB 449 Alan Harper)
    Counties, Twenty-fourth Judicial Circuit (Fayette, Lamar, and Pickens), investigators for district attorneys to receive badge and pistol at D.A.’s discretion and to be hired pursuant to general law, Act 88-324, 1988 Reg. Sess., repealed. 

    Pike County

    Act 2012-540 (HB 764 Alan C. Boothe)
    Pike County, establish additional voting centers.

    Randolph County

    Act 2012-182 (HB 342 Richard J. Laird)
    Woodland, corp. limits alt., referendum.

    Act 2012-367 (HB 732 Richard J. Laird)
    Randolph County, sheriff, salary and additional expense allowance.

    Act 2012-339 (SB 486 Gerald Dial)
    Randolph Co., tobacco tax, portion distrib. for establishment of District Community Service Office, Act 2003-213, 2003 Reg. Sess. amended and reenacted; Act 2010-402, 2010 Reg. Sess. am’d.

    Russell County

    Act 2012-452 (HB 740 Lesley Vance)
    Russell Co., sheriff, authorized to provide retiring officer and supernumerary sheriff with badge and pistol, retroactive effect.

    St. Clair County

    Act 2012-458 (HB 772 Jim McClendon)
    St. Clair Co., warrant recall fee for City of Moody.

    Shelby County

    Act 2012-444 (HB 613 Mike Hill)
    Shelby Co., court cost, additional service fee in civil cases in circuit and district court, distribution to Judicial Administration Fund, Solicitor’s Fund, and Peace Officer’s Annuity and Benefit Fund.

    Sumter County

    Act 2012-244 (HB 623 A.J. McCampbell)
    Sumter Co., sheriff may operate jail store, distrib. for law enforcement purposes, audit, prior actions ratified and confirmed.

    Talladega County

    Act 2012-183 (HB 475 Ronald G. Johnson)
    Lincoln, corp. limits alt.

    Act 2012-457  (HB 771 Ronald G. Johnson)
    Talladega County, tobacco tax, distribution to Talladega County Volunteer Program, Act 90-424, 1990 Reg. Sess. am’d.

    Act 2012-233 (SB 466 Jerry Fielding)
    Talladega County, authorizing county commission to levy a lodging tax, exclude certain campgrounds, Act 2008-494, 2008 Reg. Sess., am’d.

    Tuscaloosa County

    Act 2012-450 (HB 704 Bill Poole)
    Tuscaloosa, police officers and firefighters, retirement system, disability, termination of employment, contributions, deferred retirement, further provided for, Act 99-568, 1999 Reg. Sess. am’d.)

    Act 2012-479 (SB 523 Gerald Allen)
    Tuscaloosa Co., coroner office established, election, medical examiner office abolished, compensation set by county commission, Act 86-373, 1986 Reg. Sess. Repealed.

    Washington County

    Act 2012-180 (HB 60 Elaine Beech)
    Washington Co., circuit clerk, expense allowance, Act 84-549, 1984 Reg. Sess. Repealed.

    Wilcox County

    Act 2012-172 (HB 371 David Colston)
    Wilcox County, additional court costs assessed in circuit and district court, proceeds deposited in Circuit Clerk’s Special Account.

    Act 2012-238 (HB 443 David Colston)
    Wilcox Co., sheriff, additional expense allowance and salary.

    Winston County

    Act 2012-441 (HB 503 Mike Millican)
    25th Judicial Circuit, Marion and Winston County, court costs, assessment and distribution to Public Defender Fund, distribution after repeal of Act 720, 1978 Reg. Sess.; Act 2011-576, 2011 Reg. Sess., am’d.

    Act 2012-481 (HB 741 Richard Baughn)
    Winston County, Judge of Probate, salary basis, issuance of motor vehicle license plates, const. amend.

     

    Special Session

    The Alabama Legislature completed a short special session early in the morning of May 24.  The session’s primary focus was bills establishing the district lines to be used for the election state House and state Senate members beginning in 2014. The new maps were drawn by the Republican majority in both chambers and were passed after filibusters led by Democrats, who have vowed to challenge the lines before the U.S. Justice Department. Governor Bentley has signed both bills into law, and the final maps may be viewed here.

    Three other bills, all focusing on the state’s financial plight, were also passed during the session.

    State use tax
    Act 2012-599 (HB 13 Jay Love)
    The legislation shifts a portion of the proceeds of the state use tax from the education trust fund to the general fund. The measure also shifts a substantial expenditure item to the state general fund budget. Even so, the measure is expected to provide much-needed growth revenue to the budget used to fund the non-education functions of state government. The bill does not impact county funding or local sales and use taxes.

    Borrowing for economic development
    Act 2012-567 (HB 12 Jay Love)
    In 2000 Alabama voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing revenue from the Alabama Trust Fund to pay the annual debt on bonds used primarily to fund expenditures aimed at attracting business and industry to the state of Alabama. This proposed constitutional amendment would increase the ceiling on the total amount of bonds that can be outstanding at any one time. If ratified by the voters in November, this amendment will not impact the counties’ annual payments from the Alabama Trust Fund.

    Tobacco settlement
    Act 2012-600 (HB 25 Jim Barton)
    This measure allocates a portion of the state’s revenue from the tobacco settlements to various state agencies, including Medicaid and juvenile services. County revenue is not impacted by this legislation.