Statewide Emergency Notification System
Act 2020-85

Sen. Bobby Singleton & Rep. Joe Lovvorn

Effective immediately, Act 2020-85 (SB140) allows for the creation of a Statewide Emergency Notification System, available for use by every Alabama county and municipality for warning and updating citizens on disasters. The Notification System will be funded by state dollars through the Alabama Disaster Recovery Fund, overseen by the Alabama Disaster Recovery Program Committee, and its requirements and specifications established by the collaborative efforts of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and the Recovery Program Committee.

Retirement Systems of Alabama Governance

The current appointment of members to the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) Board of Control does not adequately reflect the local employing agencies of participating members in the system. The Association proposes to amend the statute governing the appointment of members to more closely reflect the employing agencies of the participating members by adding one county-elected board position and one additional at-large local position to the RSA Board of Control.

Inmate Reform

The 2015 Alabama Prison Reform Act made sweeping changes to the Alabama Criminal Justice System, including the creation of the Class D felony, and created new sanctions for parole and probation violations. These changes resulted in a 250-percent increase in State inmates being diverted to county jails and more than $60 million dollars in increased spending on jail operations and law enforcement. The Association proposes to repeal the 2015 Prison Reform Act sanction provisions that require counties to hold inmates who are awaiting transfer to State custody for the 45-day period of incarceration for probation or parole violations.

Rebuild Alabama Advertising Bidding Requirements

The Rebuild Alabama Act requires that all project bid announcements using Rebuild Alabama revenue be posted on a single website hosted by the Association for availability to potential bidders. Counties are required to post electronic bid announcements and use traditional advertising if projects use any additional funding source to complete Rebuild Alabama projects. The Association proposes to amend current law to allow for all local road and bridge projects to utilize the bid advertisement procedures adopted in the Rebuild Alabama Act.

Ethics Law Revolving Door Provision

The Association proposes to amend the revolving door provision of the Ethics Law to repeal the two-year prohibition on the rehiring of public employees and officials by former employers or other public employers and to repeal the prohibition on representing an employer before any board, agency, commission, department, or legislative body in his or her official capacity by those public employees. If enacted into law, this vital piece of legislation would allow counties to attract qualified and experienced employees.

Election Expense Reimbursement

In 2017, legislation was enacted to allow for the use of electronic poll books in federal, state and local elections. Further, an administrative rule promulgated certain conditions for which counties could seek reimbursement for the purchasing of electronic poll books. The Association proposes to amend the current election reimbursement statute to codify that electronic poll books and related software are eligible items for election expense reimbursement by the State of Alabama.

Mental Health Crisis

Alabama is experiencing an escalating mental health crisis. State and local governments lack the resources to adequately assist individuals suffering from mental illnesses. These individuals are admitted to emergency rooms, county jails and, in many cases, the Department of Corrections. The Association proposes to take an active role in addressing the mental health crisis and to support statewide efforts and legislative measures for funding and providing access to effective mental health services at the local level.

Public Shelters and Safer Places

Alabama has experienced a high volume of natural disasters over the past decade. It is imperative that state and local leaders take an active role to ensure the safety of the citizens of Alabama. It is vital that citizens have access to buildings and shelters in times of impending disasters and that public and private entities willing to provide access to these facilities be able to do so. The Association proposes to amend current law to provide specific liability protection for those entities opening buildings or shelters to the public in times of impending disaster events.

County Boards of Equalization

For several years, local entities have struggled to make recommendations to the Alabama Department of Revenue for the appointment of individuals to serve on the County Boards of Equalization. The Association supports legislation to update the process for appointing and compensating members of the County Boards of Equalization to ensure the efficient operation of the tax appeal process by attracting qualified persons to serve in this important role.