Changes in Local Law Process
SB 258 by Sen. Cam Ward
The Alabama Constitutional Revision Commission has proposed changes to the current process for passing local legislation. The commission’s proposal provides for a shorter advertising period and allows for local legislation to be amended during the legislative process, thus allowing counties and legislators a meaningful opportunity to debate and negotiate local bills during the legislative process. The Association urges the Alabama Legislature and voters statewide to approve this proposed change.
Local Constitutional Amendment Election
SB 274 by Sen. Linda Coleman with committee amendment | Fact Sheet
The Alabama Constitutional Revision Commission has proposed changes to the existing procedure for the holding of county-only referendums on proposed local constitutional amendments. Currently, the constitution allows any one member of the Alabama Legislature to force a statewide vote on such local matters by casting a single “nay” vote on the proposal. The commission has endorsed legislation to change the threshold to at least three (3) negative votes in the Senate or at least nine (9) negative votes in the House. The Association urges the Alabama Legislature and voters statewide to approve this proposed change.
County Administrative Powers
SB 367 by Sen. Del Marsh | Possible Administrative Powers | Fact Sheet
The Constitutional Revision Commission has proposed granting county government the authority to adopt certain administrative powers without requiring legislative approval. These powers would not include the power to tax or regulate land use, but would allow the county commission to make administrative decisions regarding the management and operation of the county and to adopt certain programs beneficial to the citizens they represent. The Association urges the Alabama Legislature and voters statewide to approve this proposed change.
Local Government Health Insurance Program
HB 136 by Rep. Mac McCutcheon | Fact Sheet
Most county commissions provide health insurance coverage to employees through the Alabama Local Government Health Insurance Program, which was established by statute more than 20 years ago. The program is administered by the Alabama State Employees’ Insurance Board without local government representation. In part as a result of the current uncertainty regarding compliance with the federal mandates for health insurance coverage, the Association urges the Alabama Legislature to establish a separate board to direct the operation of the local government program.
Qualifying Dates for Independent Candidates
HB 268 by Rep. David Standridge | Fact Sheet
SB 214 by Sen. Cam Ward | Fact Sheet
The Association supports legislation to require a person seeking public office as an “independent” candidate to file the required petition seeking ballot access no later than the last day of qualifying for those seeking the nomination of a political party for the same office.
Publishing Election Notices
HB 71 by Rep. Howard Sanderford with committee amendment | Fact Sheet
SB 72 by Sen. Paul Sanford (with committee amendment)| Fact Sheet
The Association supports legislation amending Alabama law to authorize counties to satisfy the legal requirements for the publication of election notices by posting information on a public web site and making copies available at the courthouse.
Counting of Write-in Votes
HB 198 by Rep. Charles Newton | Fact Sheet
SB 241 by Sen. Tom Whatley | Fact Sheet
Alabama law requires write-in votes to be counted on election night. This hand-counting process is time-consuming and, in almost all cases, has no impact on the outcome of the elections. The Association supports legislation to provide that write-in votes be counted at the same time as provisional ballots under one of two conditions: either the number of write-in votes for a specific office is greater than or equal to the difference in votes between the candidates receiving the most votes or, before the date provisional ballots are counted, a request to count the write-in votes has been received along with a bond to cover the cost of the count.
Business Personal Property Taxes
HB 108 by Rep. Greg Wren
The Association supports legislation to streamline the business personal property taxation process by establishing an online system and/or short form for filing personal property tax returns, provided such system does not result in a reduction of local tax revenues generated from this ad valorem tax. The Association opposes any legislation that would provide a tax exemption or reduction in tax rate for business personal property taxes.
Business License Reform
The requirement for businesses in Alabama to obtain a state business license not only generates revenues for state and county general funds, but provides state and county government valuable information about businesses operating in the state which can be used to ensure proper payment of sales and other taxes imposed by state or local law. Therefore, the Association supports legislation to modernize the business licensing process, provided the legislation does not result in a loss of state or local revenue generated from the licenses.
State Tax Refund Offset
HB 82 by Rep. Steve Clouse | Fact Sheet
SB 169 by Sen. Jerry Fielding | Fact Sheet
The Association supports legislation that would allow counties the authority to offset a person’s state income tax refund for payment of debts due to the local government such as delinquent solid waste fees or unpaid local taxes and fees.
Public Safety Communication
HB 54 by Rep. Randy Wood | Fact Sheet
SB 215 by Sen. Greg Reed | Fact Sheet
This legislation would create the crime of interfering with public safety communication if someone were to damage public safety communication equipment or otherwise interfere with a public safety telecommunication broadcast or transmission. The bill would apply to 9-1-1.
This act would allow the Alabama Emergency Management Agency to transfer equipment and other property to county emergency management agencies for their use.
SB 400 by Sen. Paul Bussman
Under current law, county commissions are required to “levy” property taxes annually, even when rates do not change. This bill would require all counties to levy property taxes in 2015, and after that, commissions would only have to repeat that step if rates change. The legislation would also ratify all past levies.